Gov. Dave Heineman today was joined by Nebraska law enforcement, Nebraska Department of Roads, public safety officials and community partners, to promote safe travel and the "Click It or Ticket' mobilization ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. This is the eighth year the state has participated in the national safety campaign, which began May 21 and runs through June 3.
"We need your help to continue to save lives on Nebraska's roads," Gov. Heineman said. "While we remain dedicated to reducing traffic fatalities we have experienced a slight increase in roadway deaths in 2012. Many of these deaths can be attributed to the lack of seat belts. It is critical that all motorists and their passengers buckle up every time on every trip."
To date in 2012, the state has recorded 65 traffic fatalities, an increase of eight deaths over this same period one-year ago. Of the 53 killed in motor vehicle crashes to date on Nebraska roads 42 were not wearing seat belts. The increase follows two straight years of reduced traffic fatalities with 181 traffic fatalities in 2011, marking a second all-time low.
"The unfortunate reality is too many people are dying on our roadways because they aren't buckling up," said Col. David Sankey, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. "Statistics show wearing your seat belt increases your odds of surviving a crash by up to 50 percent. We encourage all motorists to put the odds in their favor. Obey the law, buckle-up."
In addition to the Nebraska State Patrol, the "Click It or Ticket' mobilization involves 63 law enforcement agencies across the state. This provides more than 12,000 hours of additional traffic enforcement and emphasizes the use of seat belts and proper child restraints.
In conjunction with enforcement efforts, a public service campaign will remind motorists at the pump to buckle-up. Individuals filling their tank will be greeted with the message "Buckle Up or Pay the Price. Click It or Ticket. 2 Tickets 2 Fines."
Additionally, road construction projects typically increase during summer months. Drivers are encouraged to pay extra attention in work zones and remember that fines for infractions double when workers are present.
"Construction season is a time when drivers and workers must share the highways," said Monty Fredrickson, Director of the Nebraska Department of Roads. "While highway workers may not be present over the Memorial Day weekend, work zones will still be there. Please drive extra carefully near work zones, watching for the barricades and directional signs."
With the Memorial Day weekend seen as the start of the summer travel season, motorists are reminded that Nebraska law requires drivers to move over for emergency vehicles.
Gov. Heineman said, "It's up to all of us to have a safe summer travel season. Join me in doing your part, buckle-up, move over and pay extra attention in work zones."