As summer comes and seasonal traffic becomes commonplace in the area, local police will be out on the roads in coming weeks making a concerted effort to ticket those who aren’t wearing a seat belt in cars.
From May 18 through the end of the month — right around one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, Memorial Day weekend — police will be stepping up enforcement in a Click it or Ticket campaign.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,000 people involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2013 were unrestrained. That number rose to 59 percent when the accidents occurred at night.
“If you ask the family members of those unrestrained people who were killed in crashes, they’ll tell you — they wish their loved ones had buckled up,” said Riverhead police highway officer Dennis Cavanagh. “If these enforcement crackdowns get people’s attention, and get them to buckle, then we’ve done our job.”
According to the New York Traffic Safety Committee, in 1984 the state became the first in the nation to enact a mandatory seat belt law. About 90 percent of motorists buckle up, its website states. The maximum penalty for a seatbelt violation is $143.