On May 25 we officially began the summer travel season. Many Georgians have already encountered law enforcement checkpoints established to enforce Georgia's seat belt and child safety seat laws.
If the first days of the Click It or Ticket campaign are any indication, law enforcement officers will issue hundreds of citations to drivers who refuse to buckle up themselves or child passengers.
We don't like to see tickets issued to citizens and visitors; however, the primary purpose of this education and enforcement campaign is to save lives and reduce injuries.
In 1999, 1,508 people in Georgia died in traffic crashes; 801 of those fatalities were not restrained. Consequently, our state's fatality rate ranks fourth in the nation. We can easily change these tragic numbers with the by buckling up.
Seat belts and child safety seats can mean the difference between life and death or reduce the chances of critical injuries. Unfortunately, national research shows that the only effective means of persuading some citizens to buckle up is through stringent enforcement...
For those who decide to buckle up in Georgia and unfasten their restraints in other states, be forewarned: Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky are also in the Click It or Ticket campaign.
Yvonne McBride, Atlanta, Ga.
(Editor's note: The author is director of the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety.)