Local police ticket drivers who didn't ‘Click It'

The number of people not wearing seat belts is astounding.

On May 22, 88 tickets for seat belt and car seat violations were written in the cities of Exeter and Farmersville. Sgt. Celis Rabena with the Exeter Police Department said about 90% of those were in Exeter.

The tickets were part of a statewide seat belt and car seat enforcement effort called &#8220Click It or Ticket.” Despite radio and television spots and stories and advertisements in newspapers, many did not heed the warning that cops would be cracking down on the problem.

On May 22, 22 officers from Tulare, Porterville, Farmersville, Woodlake, Lindsay, Visalia, Dinuba and the California Highway Patrol patroled the streets of Exeter and Farmersville from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In addition to seat belt and car seat violations, officers wrote 42 tickets for other traffic violations.

Officers also made two arrests for warrants, cited two drivers for driving without a license and cited two others for driving on a suspended license.

On May 24, the officers moved to Woodlake where 30 tickets were written for seat belt and car seat violations. Lt. Ron Hughart said their numbers were down because they had been focusing on the enforcement effort with their own officers since May 15.

Later that same day, officers moved on to Lindsay, where 94 tickets were written for traffic violations, 68 for seatbelt and 17 for car seat violations.

The maximum fine for a seat belt violation is $91 for the first offense and $193 for a second offense. Child restraint violations are $340 for the first offense and $871 for the second.

The statewide Click It or Ticket enforcement began May 15 and continues through June 4. The enforcement's intent was to prevent fatal accidents, most of which can be prevented by wearing safety belts.

Nine-hundred and sixty-one occupants were killed in California crashes in 2004 because they were not wearing seat belts.

A 2005 survey revealed that 92.5% of vehicle occupants wear their seat belts. That leaves about 2.7 million who don't buckle up in California.

The county-wide mobilization of &#8220Click It or Ticket” was funded through a grant to the Tulare Police Department from the Office of Traffic Safety.

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