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Dear Editor, The Burnett Co. Sheriff’s Department Deputies, along with the Grantsburg, Siren and Webster Police Departments will be working with other Law Enforcement Agencies thru out Wisconsin June 22 – July 5th in the “Click It or Ticket” Campaign in efforts to promote seat belt use.

Seat belts save lives and prevent serious injuries

Consistent seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect motor vehicle occupants from being injured or killed in a crash. Air bags are an important safety enhancement, but only seat belts can prevent motorists from being ejected or thrown around violently inside a vehicle during a crash.

More people are buckling up but there’s room for improvement

The good news is Wisconsin’s seat belt use rate is at its highest ever: 90.2 percent. Still, too many motorists fail to buckle up and are needlessly injured and killed in crashes. In 2019, 44 percent of car and light truck occupants killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes were unbuckled.

When looking at this way, currently in Wisconsin, about 10 percent of motorists fail to buckle up. Yet, this relatively small group accounts for nearly half of the drivers and passengers killed in car/truck crashes in Wisconsin every year.

Teens, truck drivers among those least likely to buckle up

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and young adults nationwide.

Teen-related crashes, injuries and deaths can be attributed in part to dangerous driving behaviors such as failure to buckle up and driving while distracted.

Observational surveys indicate the people least likely to wear a seat belt in Wisconsin are male drivers of commercial motor vehicles and pick-up trucks.

Wisconsin seat belt laws

Last year (2019) marked the 10-year anniversary of Wisconsin’s “primary enforcement” seat belt law (allows law enforcement to stop/cite a motorist solely for not buckling up). Drivers can also be cited for every unbuckled passenger in their vehicle.

Since the primary enforcement law took effect on June 30, 2009, Wisconsin’s seat belt use rate has increased from 74 percent (in 2009) to over 90 percent (today). Last year (2019) in Wisconsin, there were 41,654 traffic convictions for failure to wear a seat belt.

Let’s all work together to make our roads safer,

Burnett Co. Sheriff - Tracy Finch

Grantsburg Chief of Police – Dan Wald

Siren Chief of Police – Chris Sybers

Webster Chief of Police – Steph Wedin