Columbia police increase "Click it or Ticket" effort

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department joined efforts with statewide law enforcement Tuesday to increase its "click it or ticket" campaign.

A MoDOT grant is paying for officer overtime needed to enforce the campaign.

"During officer's normal traffic enforcement, officers will be looking for individuals not wearing seat belts and issuing citations for violations," department spokeswoman Bryana Maupin said.

But Missouri's legal code states, "No person shall be stopped, inspected, or detained solely to determine compliance with this subsection (wearing a seat belt)."

Missouri law requires drivers to wear seat belts, but enforcement officers can only grant violations if the driver is pulled over for a separate violation. This is called "secondary" seat belt law. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Missouri is one of 15 states to enforce secondary seat belt law among adults.

A police department media release revealed 79 percent of Missouri motorists buckle up, well below the national average of 87 percent. About two thirds of individuals killed in Missouri crashes were unrestrained.

Drivers found guilty of driving without a seat belt face up to a fine of $10.