Approximately 400 law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin are taking part in the campaign to aggressively stop every driver they see not wearing a safety belt; Bureau of Transportation Safety’s Major Dan Lonsdorf says that means passengers, too. “Not only can the passenger then be cited for not wearing their belt, but law enforcement has the discretion of also then citing the driver for permitting that person to be in the car unbelted.”
Also, Lonsdorf says, kids typically wear their seatbelts at the instruction of their parents, but when they get older, they think it’s no longer “cool” to do so. As a result, Lonsdorf says they become extremely vulnerable to being hurt. So, how do we make it cool? “That’s a tough thing to sell,” he says, “Is it cool to live? I think so.”
Lonsdorf says, more often than not, young males are the biggest offenders — motorists between the ages of 16-32, in pickups and SUVs, driving in the country. About one in five of all motorists in Wisconsin don’t buckle up.
Last year in the Badger State, there were 120,000 convictions for not wearing a seatbelt. A big problem, Lonsdorf says, is a pittance of a penalty. The fine is a mere ten bucks; there’s no demerit points and no associated court costs.
The Click It or Ticket campaign runs through June 5.