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Local police to step up seat-belt enforcement this holiday season

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With the holidays upon us and millions of Americans hitting the roads, the Rocklin Police Department wants everyone to arrive safely at their destinations. Drivers and passengers need to know that officers will be out in force sending the strong message to, “Click It or Ticket.” While seat belt use is at a record high of 83 percent nationwide, 45 million Americans still fail to buckle up when they get in a motor vehicle. Even though in California 96.2 percent use their restraints, it still means that more than 1.5 million Californians don’t buckle up. During the holiday period, more than 35 vehicle occupants who are not buckled up will be killed in motor vehicle crashes each day nationwide. Statewide, overall traffic deaths declined by 23 percent, from 3,995 in 2007 to 3,081 in 2009 due in part to the increased use of seat belts. Total traffic fatalities are at their lowest levels in six decades. “Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic safety. “Law enforcement estimates indicate that over 1,300 Californians survived by buckling up last year. Sadly however, about 150 others will not be gathering with families during the holidays because they choose not to use their seat belts.” National statistics also show that those least likely to buckle up are teens, young adults, males, nighttime riders, motorists traveling on rural roads, and individuals traveling in pickup trucks. The Rocklin Police Department will join more than 100 local law enforcement agencies statewide with participation in this year’s “Click It or Ticket” mobilization. ~Staff report