WISCONSIN -- Law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin will be watching for unbuckled motorists for the "Click It Or Ticket" campaign which starts today, according to a news release from the Wisconsin State Patrol.
With pandemic restrictions being lifted, more motorists are expected to be on the road enjoying all Wisconsin has to offer during the summer months. Today through June 6, Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP) officers will join law enforcement agencies statewide and nationwide, for the annual Click It or Ticket mobilization effort. They will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours to reinforce one safety message – BUCKLE UP.
“We’re glad to see people traveling again, and we want them to do it safely,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “The single, most important way motorists can protect themselves and their passengers, is by making sure everyone’s buckled up, for each and every trip.”
Wisconsin’s primary seat belt law, in place since 2009, allows law enforcement to stop and cite motorists for failing to wear a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for every unbuckled passenger in their vehicle. Penalties are higher for transporting unrestrained children. Failure to fasten a seat belt is among the most common traffic violations in Wisconsin, resulting in more than 27,000 traffic convictions last year.
“We aren’t handing out tickets for the thrill of it. Wearing a seat belt is not only the law, it can save your life,” Superintendent Anthony Burrell said. Currently, 89% of Wisconsin motorists wear safety belts. The 11% who fail to buckle up accounted for 43% of all the drivers and passengers killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes in 2020.
Over the next two weeks, WisDOT also will use designated federal funds to support enhanced law enforcement efforts, TV, radio and other public education messages, many featuring Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading receiver and Click It or Ticket spokesperson Donald Driver. Electronic message signs along major highways also will display buckle up reminders.
When Wisconsin’s secondary seat belt law was enacted in December 1987, the state’s seat belt use rate was just 26 percent (under secondary enforcement, police can issue a citation for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another traffic infraction). The seat belt use rate was 74 percent when the state’s current primary seat belt law was enacted in June 2009.
“We’ve made great strides, but our goal is 100%,” Thompson said. “Help us spread this lifesaving message before one more friend or family-member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction.”