The annual Click It or Ticket campaign launched Monday and runs through May 25.
Hawaii’s universal seat belt law requires that all front and back seat motor vehicle occupants buckle up. Adults and children must use their seat belts and child restraints at all times.
Last year police ticketed nearly 12,000 people for not using a seat belt.
Statistics show approximately two people are killed every week in a traffic crash in Hawaii.
“One death or one critical injury is way more than we would like to see on any given day. The seat belt is such an important part of surviving an accident,” said Emergency Medical Services district chief Kelly Yamamoto. “I’ve seen too many people in vehicles that even from the back seat and they’re ejected forward because they feel they don’t need the seat belt in the back.”
If you’re caught not wearing your seat belt, fines range from $102 on Oahu, Hawaii and Maui to $112 on Kauai.
Violators are required to appear in court. If convicted, violators are required to attend a four-hour class and may be assessed a penalty of $100-$500.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation reports that 11,854 drivers in Hawaii received citations during federal fiscal year 2014 for failure to use a seat belt. In addition, 1,573 drivers were issued citations for failure to secure a child under 8 years of age in their vehicles. As of June 2014, Hawaii had a seat belt usage rate of 94 percent, the same as the previous year.
Hawaii’s Child Passenger Restraint Law requires children less than four years of age to ride in a child safety seat. Children four through seven years old must ride in a child passenger restraint or booster seat.
Seat Belt/Child Restraint Facts (courtesy of the Hawaii Department of Transportation):
- In 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 people from dying nationally. From 2008 through 2012, seat belts saved nearly 63,000 lives.
- If all passenger vehicle occupants 5 years of age and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts, an additional 3,031 lives could have been saved in 2012 alone.
- In 2013, nearly half of the motor vehicle occupants who died in crashes were unrestrained.
- Among adults 18 to 34 years old killed in crashes, 61 percent were completely unrestrained – the highest percentage of all age groups.
- In 2013, there were 638 children 12 and younger killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of those fatalities, more than one third (38%) were unrestrained.
- Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2013, about 65 percent of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed were men. So it comes as no surprise that they wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do – 54 percent of men in fatal crashes were unrestrained, compared to 41 percent for women.
- Child passenger restraints can reduce deaths by as much as 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents and caregivers to keep their toddlers in rear-facing child safety seats until age 2 or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.