Police stress importance of seatbelts

Published: May. 23, 2016 at 8:41 PM EDT
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Mike Smith recently learned the importance of buckling up.

"I previously had a wreck several years ago and the seat belt actually saved my life," said Smith. "I would've gone through the windshield so I try to wear it every time I can."

Even though it helped him, he said the significance of wearing one still doesn't click with some people.

"If they ever have a wreck they'll wear it, I promise you that. It teaches you a lesson," said Smith.

Roanoke County Police and law enforcement around the country are keeping up with their yearly Click It or Ticket Campaign. They will enforce seat belt safety more strictly than usual.

Not wearing a seat belt is a secondary offense, but officers said it could save lives. Last year, there were 36 car crashes in Roanoke County in which the occupants of the car weren't wearing a seatbelt. Two of those were deadly. Sergeant Jeff Johnson said that's two too many.

Along with enhanced patrols, Sergeant Johnson said officers will conduct around 20 license and sobriety checkpoints.

"We're not out here to jam people up or along those lines," said Johnson. "We want people to wear a seat belt not because if you don't we're going to write you a ticket. We want seat belts because you don't get a second chance."

A second chance is something Smith doesn't take for granted. He hopes it encourages others to buckle up.

The Click It or Ticket runs through June 5th, but police hope the campaign's message lasts a lifetime.