By Charlotte Lane
Public Service Commission Chairman
Last month, the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program began a statewide Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign. As always, the transportation division of the Public Service Commission is cooperating and doing its part to keep everyone safe on West Virginia’s roadways.
The most recent traffic accident statistics for West Virginia are from 2020. In that year, 47% of people killed in passenger vehicles on the roads were not wearing their seatbelts. Is a person of those people who only buckles up when traveling on the interstate? If so, think again. In 2020, 64% of the Mountain State’s fatal passenger vehicle accidents occurred on rural roads.
How many of those people would be alive today if only they had taken that one small precaution? It is heartbreaking to think of the lives lost and the families that have been broken by these preventable tragedies.
Why are seatbelts so effective? According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, wearing a seatbelt helps keep a person secure inside a vehicle. If a person is not buckled up, a person can be totally ejected from the vehicle during a crash, which is almost always fatal. It is also vital that a person wears the seatbelt properly. Placing the strap under one’s arm decreases its effectiveness and can even cause other injuries.
Airbags are excellent safety devices, but relying on an airbag alone is not enough to protect a person. In fact, the force of an airbag deploying can seriously injure or even kill a person if one is not buckled up. The seatbelt keeps a person from being thrown forward into the force of the deploying airbag.
That is why the Click It or Ticket campaigns are so important. The role played by the PSC’s officers is to ensure that drivers of commercial motor vehicles comply with the seatbelt laws. The safer truck drivers are, the safer one is. This month’s Click It or Ticket blitz is a lead up to the annual national campaign that takes place in May.
The whole point of the campaign is to remind everyone that wearing a seatbelt is not just a good idea – it’s the law. Everyone in the vehicle must be wearing a seatbelt, and children must be buckled into appropriate safety seats. So, remember that if a person clicks it one can avoid the ticket.