City of Falls Church police officers will be on the lookout for motorists not wearing seat belts and aggressive drivers during the Click It or Ticket and Smooth Operator campaigns later this month and into fall.
The Click It or Ticket seatbelt enforcement takes place May 24-June 6. The Click It or Ticket program focuses on increasing seat belt and child safety seat use in an effort to reduce injury and fatality. Law enforcement from around Virginia will participate in high visibility patrols through the Memorial Day holiday.
Virginia law states that law enforcement can cite anyone driving a vehicle in which an occupant under the age of 16 is not wearing a seat belt or is not properly secured in a child safety seat. Further, the law also provides that drivers stopped for other violations can be cited if they are not buckled up. This also applies to all front seat passengers over the age of 16.
In 2009, Virginia had the highest recorded seat belt use rate in history at 82.27 percent. Even with that good news, 756 citizens lost their lives on Virginia roadways, and of those, 333 individuals were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. High visibility enforcement such as the Click It or Ticket mobilization is credited with increasing the national belt usage rate from 58 percent in 1994 to an observed usage rate of 84 percent in 2009. Virginia’s goal in 2010 is to increase usage to 83.7 percent.
The Smooth Operator initiative targets aggressive drivers in the greater Washington, D.C. area. The safety campaign aims to inform people about aggressive driving and encourage them to be more aware of their potential to drive aggressively, particularly in congested traffic or when they are stressed. City Police will implement Smooth Operator in four waves:
* Wave I: May 30-June 5
* Wave II: July 5-11
* Wave III: Aug. 1-7
* Wave IV: Sept. 5-11