PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Florida law enforcement agencies are beginning the Memorial Day weekend with a safety reminder - 'Click It Or Ticket'. Overwhelming evidence proves that seatbelts save lives.
"If we see you not wearing your seat belt, we can stop you for it," said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper James Kudla. He and fellow members of law enforcement are hoping to make sure that the failure to buckle up does not become tragic.
"Next thing you know, I've got one daughter dead and another on a respirator and dying," said State Representative Irv Slosberg.
The Boca Raton area Democrat lost one daughter and nearly lost a second after a 1996 crash. The two young girls were in the back seat of a car. Neither were belted in.
"I can't bring back my daughter, or the quadrapalegic Maribella. I can't make her walk," said Slosberg.
Florida seat belt laws were strengthened years ago, making buckling up mandatory for drivers or passengers in the front seat and also for anyone under 18 years old anywhere in a vehicle. 2010 statistics from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles found that 87.4% of Floridians on the road were complying with seat belt laws.
Trooper Kudla said he has seen results on Florida roadways, with more and more people buckling up. But he said he also comes across too many drivers and passengers who still refuse to 'Click It'. Kudla said that can be a deadly mistake.
"If they're not worried about their own safety, maybe they'll at least be worried about their wallet or their pocketbook," he said. In Palm Beach County, a seat belt violation could cost up to $116 dollars.
The 'Click It Or Ticket' crackdown will remain in effect for two weeks.
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