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seat-belts-click-it-or-ticketWith summer getaways planned, June is the perfect time to familiarize ourselves with seat belt safety.

In effect since in 2002, NHTSA’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign reminds drivers to always utilize their seat belts. Both MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance work to ensure the safety of Massachusetts residents with seat belt safety among other aspects of safe driving practices.

Massachusetts law states that all drivers and passengers who are 13 years old and older must wear their seat belts. The CDC informs that 22,441 fatalities were recorded in 2015 with more than half of teenagers (13 to 19 years) and adults (20 to 44 years) being unbuckled during the collision. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security found that during the beginning of the campaign, only 51% of drivers and passengers utilized their safety belts. As the message continued to be amplified, over the years the number grew to 78%. In fact, according to the NHTSA, approximately 15,000 lives were saved in 2016 simply due to buckling up.

NHTSA’s “Click It or Ticket” mobilizations aim to make wearing one’s seat belt part of the everyday driving routine as opposed to an afterthought. First and foremost, it is important to buckle up before starting the car and driving off. It is equally important to make sure your passengers are all wearing their safety belts as well. Similarly, it is necessary to teach these habits to our children and teens when behind the wheel.

There are many consequences when neglecting to buckle up. The Massachusetts Driver’s Manual states the following (there are some exceptions to the requirement of seat belt use):

 Massachusetts law requires every person in a passenger motor vehicle (including vans and small trucks under 18,000 lbs.) to wear a safety belt or sit in a child passenger restraint.

Any driver who is not wearing a safety belt can be fined $25. Any passenger 16 years old or older who is not wearing a safety belt can be fined $25.

A driver can also be fined $25 for each passenger age 12, 13, 14, or 15 who is not wearing a safety belt.

You can only get a fine for the safety belt law when you are stopped for a traffic violation.

Other steps that can be taken to ensure seat belt safety and safe driving practices include:

  • Always buckle up no matter the distance or length of the drive
  • Check to make sure all passengers are strapped in
  • Teach children how to buckle their seat belts
  • Remind teen drivers to use their safety belt
  • Learn about the proper way to wear a seat belt

Massachusetts motorists, with seat belts fastened, can also ride confidently knowing the MassDOT Highway Assistance Program, sponsored by MAPFRE is on patrol. The program assists by fixing minor mechanical problems and flat tires, plus providing gas and more. The Highway Assist Patrol drivers monitor some of the state’s busiest highways and turnpikes around Metro Boston, Worcester, Springfield & Cape Cod (seasonal) Monday through Friday during the peak hours of 6:00AM- 10:00AM and 3:00PM-7:00PM. We encourage proper seat belt use and look forward to a safe, fun summer for all Massachusetts drivers.

Written By Patrick McDonald, CPCU, CEO, Northeast Region, MAPFRE Insurance

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