Southwest Virginia—Tourists and residents alike take note— Blue Ridge Parkway Rangers will be out in force this fall foliage season sending the strong message that any one caught not buckling up will be ticketed and fined.
“Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year,” said Chief Ranger Steve Stinnett. “But a drive on a beautiful fall day can quickly turn to tragedy if you fail to buckle up.”
This special crackdown, beginning October 18 and ending October 29, marks the second of many seat belt enforcement mobilizations throughout the Blue Ridge Corridor designed to increase seat belt use and decrease motor vehicle fatalities. Motorists can expect to see an increase in enforcement patrols and other enforcement efforts to drive home the message: Click It or Ticket – day and night.
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 200 passenger vehicle occupants died in crashes in America’s national parks from 2005-2009, and almost half of them (46 percent) were not wearing their seat belts.
Over the same five-year period, almost 40 passenger vehicle occupants died in Roanoke County alone, and sadly 64 percent were not wearing their seat belts.
These deadly numbers continue throughout the rest of Virginia. From 2005 to 2009, 62 percent of passenger vehicle occupant fatalities were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.
“Seat belts clearly save lives, but unfortunately too many people still need a tough reminder,” said Chief Ranger Steve Stinnett. “Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing, but the consequences for not wearing one could cost you everything.”
Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. When worn correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent – and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and mini-vans.
Remember, buckle up and encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same. You could save them the cost of a ticket and may even save a life. Click It or Ticket.
For more information, please contact the Chief Rangers Office at (828)271-4779.
* According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all numbers and percentages referencing belted or unbelted fatalities are based on “Known Usage.”