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Jefferson police barrack honored for belt response

December 09, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - It's called Click It or Ticket, and West Virginia State Police troopers in Jefferson County have been doing plenty of the latter recently.

In an attempt to increase the number of motorists who use seat belts, the state started the Click It or Ticket campaign.

If police stop a motorist for another violation and realize that person is not using seat belts, the motorist can be cited and fined $25.

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State police in Jefferson County have written more than 700 tickets to motorists for not using their seat belts, said Cpl. Geoff Petsko, who oversees Click It or Ticket in Jefferson County.

Although Click It or Ticket involves an number of efforts, including talking to school students, the best way to increase use of seat belts is to ticket motorists, Petsko said.

Because of the work that the local state police detachment has put into the program, the state recently selected the Jefferson County state police barrack for its top award for the program.

The award was presented to the detachment from the National Highway Safety Office during a ceremony in Tamarack, W.Va., in October, Petsko said.

Although people are 50 percent more likely to survive a car crash if they are using seat belts, West Virginia has typically had a low seat belt-use rate, Petsko said. At one point, as few as 49 percent of motorists wore seat belts, he said.

The state then adopted the Click It or Ticket campaign, and last year, seat belt usage rose to 76 percent, Petsko said.

In the Click It or Ticket campaign, troopers set up traffic checkpoints to determine if drivers are using seat belts, Petsko said. Other times, troopers conduct their own patrols in the county looking for violators, Petsko said.

"We're taking the campaign to heart," Petsko said.

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