Highway patrol enforcing Click It or Ticket campaign

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JEFFERSON CITY - With the National Click It or Ticket campaign, police across the country are zeroing in on drivers who don't wear their seat belts. National Click It or Ticket Enforcement begins May 18 and ends on May 31.

Even though a seat belt violation is a secondary violation in Missouri, Corporal Scott White of the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) said they still participate in this nationwide event.

White said Missouri law enforcement officers can not stop a driver if the only violation is they are not wearing their seat belt. 

"In Missouri, you are required as a law enforcement officer to see another violation prior to stopping someone," White said. "What this means is that the law enforcement agent has to have a second reason for stopping you, whether it be speeding or following too close or any of the other driving violations."

While White said seat belts do not prevent car crashes, they do actually affect the outcome of those crashes.

"It only takes three seconds to buckle a safety belt, and it could be worth a life," White said.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for people ages 5 to 34. White said 75 percent of occupants who are ejected from a car during a crash are fatally injured.

White said the Missouri State Highway Patrol's main goal this week is to educate drivers on how a seat belt can save a life. 

"We do talk to a lot of schools and civic groups to try to let them know the importance of seatbelt use and how it can protect them in a car crash,"
White said.

White said educating young drivers is a major priority for the MSHP.