Law enforcement is warning motorists to buckle up or pay the price, especially as we wrap up this Memorial Day weekend.
The problem is, the price is just ten bucks. Critics say the fine for not wearing a seat belt is too low and doesn’t act as a deterrent for would-be offenders. State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable says the numbers prove it. “And what we see is those states that have at least $25 or more of a seat belt fine, they’ve got a much higher compliance rate.”
The annual “Click It or Ticket” safety campaign is under way, with about 400 law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin patrolling in greater numbers and longer hours looking for unbuckled drivers and passengers.
Huxtable says, even though the fine seems incidental, state law says everyone must wear a safety belt. “I do know, though, that some people say, ‘Well, it’s just ten bucks. I’m not gonna worry about it.’ But it actually is the fact that they are taking their life or the life of someone else at risk if they get involved in a crash.”
It’s estimated that one of every five Wisconsin motorists fails to wear a seat belt. Huxtable says not buckling up dramatically increases the risk a person will be ejected from the vehicle or thrown around violently in a crash.
Wisconsin has had a seat belt law since 1971, with no increase in the ticket price. Also, there are no demerit points or penalty assessment. Primary enforcement went into effect 2009.
The annual “Click It or Ticket” safety campaign continues through June 2nd.