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Please Don't Be a Turkey, Buckle Up

November 22, 2005

Chances are someone you know will be involved in a car accident this year. If they are not wearing their seat belt, it is twice as likely that they will be severely injured or even killed. That is why county and local police departments throughout Westchester will join forces with the nationwide Click it or Ticket Campaign, cracking down on seat belt violators during the heavily traveled Thanksgiving weekend.

“The bottom line is seat belts save lives. Every hour someone dies in a car crash because they didn’t buckle up,” said County Executive Andy Spano. “But unfortunately too many people need a tough reminder, so we will be out in force to strictly enforce the law over Thanksgiving with a strong Click it or Ticket campaign. We must do all we can to stop this needless loss of lives.”

This year’s mobilization will place special emphasis on young drivers. Unfortunately, teens are at greater risk of death or injury due to traffic crashes. Recently, Westchester County intensified its seat belt education efforts and focused on young drivers, targeting high school students with contests, dramatic crash demonstrations and created a website at www.westchestergov.com/teendriving. National statistics indicate that car crashes are the leading cause of death for young people ages 15-20, fatality rates for teen drivers are four times higher than for older drivers, and 60 percent of teens do not wear their seat belts.

“Messages about seat belts usually fall on deaf ears, but young people need to know that police in Westchester will be writing tickets, especially during this upcoming Click it or Ticket Campaign. “Unless you want to risk a ticket – or worse, your life – remember to buckle up,” Spano added. “We must get the message out to everyone that wearing your seat belt is still the single most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries on our roadways,” Spano concluded.

Besides buckling up, other tips for safe travel over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend include:

  • Allow someone else to drive when taking medications or when you are drowsy. Fatigued driving can be just as deadly as drunk driving;
  • Avoid speeding - plan your trip so that you have plenty of time to reach your destination;
  • Do not drive aggressively, such as tailgating, failing to yield the right-of-way, and following too closely;
  • Make sure your vehicle is well maintained. Check tire pressures and tread, clean all lights, check brakes and battery;
  • Use seat belts each and every time you are in a vehicle and always secure children in child car seats or booster seats.

Spano urges all Westchester residents to follow these tips and drive defensively.

For further information on traffic safety issues, contact Westchester County Department of Public Works, Traffic Safety at 995-2271 or log on to www.westchestergov.com/teendriving.



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