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Lee H. Dunlap/Staff

Harrison Police officers John Contreras (right) and Josh Applegate will be helping keep motorists safe during the Memorial Day holiday in making sure drivers and passengers are wearing their seats belts during the “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign.

As the summer season begins and families set out on their travels across Arkansas, state and local law enforcement officers are sending a clear message to motorists, Click It or Ticket. Seat belt laws are enforced to protect drivers and their passengers from unnecessary injuries and death.

A state seat belt enforcement campaign begins Friday, May 22, and continues through June 7, coinciding with one of the busiest travel and holiday weekends each year.

“Our law enforcement officers see firsthand the loss of life and trauma when people refuse to buckle up,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “It’s such a simple step, buckling up, when you first sit down inside a car or truck, it should be second nature. Why wouldn’t you want to do something that increases your chances of keeping you or your family safe?”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analysis from 2018 documented 9,778 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes on U.S. roads. That same year, 56% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 AM - 5:59 AM) were not wearing seat belts. The statistical study has led law enforcement agencies to place additional emphasis on nighttime seat belt enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies, including Harrison Police, are taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, whether a violator is stopped day or night.

The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office urges everyone to buckle up, every trip, every time, especially during the upcoming holiday when more motorists will be on the road.

Arkansas law requires that all front seat passengers, not just drivers, be buckled up. It requires all children under fifteen years of age to be properly secured in the vehicle. A child who is less than six years of age and who weighs less than sixty pounds should be restrained in a child passenger safety seat. If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled up.

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