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Law enforcement on the look out for seat belt violators

Law enforcement on the look out for seat belt violators

(Columbus, Ohio) -- Law enforcement agencies across the country kick off an annual push to get more people to buckle their seat belt.

Monday is the first day of the Click It Or Ticket campaign which runs for the next two weeks. The Ohio State Highway Patrol says 61 percent of those killed in traffic crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

You cannot be pulled over in Ohio for not wearing your seat belt, but Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Reggie Streicher says troopers are trained to look for your seat belt and it's likely they'll pull you over for another violation if they see you not wearing it.

"A taillight out, a headlight out, a cracked windshield, if you're speeding, a marked lane violation, following too close," he said.

Ohio is one of just 16 states with secondary seat belt laws. 33 other states enforce seat belt laws as a primary violation. New Hampshire remains the only state to have no seat belt laws for adults.

"If you're buckled up if halves your chance of being injured and it significantly, ten times, decreases your chance of dying," said Dr. Shay O'Mara who heads the trauma unit at Grant Medical Center.

O'Mara says the most deadly types of injuries happen to the chest or head and seat belts can prevent them. He says it's pretty easy to tell who was buckled up and who wasn't when trauma patients arrive in his operating room.

"If their wearing their seat belt most of them are going to walk out of there and not even be admitted to the hospital. If they aren't wearing their seat belt you can tell right away because most of their injuries are severe," he said.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that the annual crackdown has resulted in more than three million seat belt citations over the last five years, or a ticket written every other second.

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