Click It or Ticket!

Friday, September 4th, 2009 at 10:42 am

(Article from Rep. Ann Hraychuck)

Next time you get in your car and decide not to wear your seatbelt- THINK AGAIN!  As of June 30, Wisconsin now has a primary enforcement seat belt law.  This means that law enforcement is able to stop and ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt.  Violation of this new law carries a fine of $10, however no points are assigned against a person’s driving record.

State law already requires all drivers and passengers of motor vehicles, over the age of four, to wear safety belts.  Children under four are required to be in an appropriate child safety restraint.

Our state has one of the lowest safety belt use rates in the country.  Approximately 74 percent of Wisconsin residents wear their seat belt, which is considerably lower than the national average of 83 percent.  Furthermore, when comparing Wisconsin to Minnesota, who has a safety belt use rate of 87 percent, Wisconsinites are again falling well below the average.

In 2008, 398 people were killed on Wisconsin’s roads.  43 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts. According to AAA, it is estimated that a one percent increase in seat belt use, in Wisconsin, would save six lives each year.  If Wisconsin could raise its seat belt use percentage to the national average of 83 percent, over 50 lives could be saved.

If we look at the economic disadvantages of not buckling up, the impacts are substantial.  The National Transportation Safety Board indicates that the economic losses resulting from an individual that is hurt or killed in a traffic crash often include medical expenses and lost worker productivity.  This leads to society covering nearly 75 percent of these losses through higher insurance premiums, taxes, and other public funding.  Furthermore, the National Safety Council estimates that each traffic fatality in Wisconsin costs nearly $1.2 million with each incapacitating injury costing roughly $62,400.  In the year 2007, traffic fatalities and injuries in Wisconsin totaled over $2 billion in economic losses.

As a former member of law enforcement, I have personally seen the devastating effects of people not wearing their seat belts.  I encourage you to please buckle up every time you get in a vehicle.  Your life could depend on it.

As always, if you have any additional questions regarding this or any other state legislative matter, please feel free to contact me toll-free at 1-888-529-0028 or by e-mailing me at Rep.Hraychuck@legis.wisconsin.gov.

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