Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake police departments are participating in the annual Click It or Ticket campaign May 22 through June 4.
According to Capt. Steve Guldeman, Falls Police will have additional officers out during this time to enforce traffic laws and issue citations for seat belt violations. This will be funded through a 2017 Ohio Traffic Safety Grant, he said.
"Statistically, within the State of Ohio during 2016 only 43.3 percent of persons killed in fatal crashes were wearing a seat belt," Guldeman said. "The use among persons injured in traffic crashes was reported as being 88 percent."
Guldeman, who is the operations commander for Falls Police, said the current seat belt usage rate for Summit County is 78.1 percent.
Lt. Jamie Norris said Silver Lake Police typically does not make a commitment to extra hours during Click It or Ticket, and this year is no exception. Failing to buckle up is a secondary offense, Norris said, so officers cannot stop a motorist on that offense alone. If, however, they've pulled someone over on a primary offense and they see the driver isn't strapped in, they cite them.
"With the Memorial Day holiday coming up and prom season, our goal is not to issue as many tickets as we can," Norris said, adding many times the offender is given a warning. "We'd like to have everyone in compliance and wearing a seat belt."
The Click It or Ticket campaign has led to an increase in the use of seat belts, the lieutenant said. "We know seat belts saves lives," Norris said. "Everybody gets in a hurry sometimes; they jump in the car and take off." He said all it takes is "a simple reach over the shoulder and click it."
"Wearing a seat belt might keep you here a little bit longer," Norris said.