Click it or ticket.
For years, those words have been synonymous with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s campaign designed to increase the use of seat belts. The message is simple: If you’re pulled over while driving and don’t have your seat belt on, you will be cited.
In the past five years alone, the annual two-week “Click It or Ticket” crackdown has resulted in more than 3 million seat belt citations nationwide. As the NHTSA explains, that’s a ticket every other second.
The message is even more important now that driving without wearing a seat belt is a primary offense in West Virginia.
The new law, which took effect Tuesday, ultimately will help keep people safe. West Virginia joins 32 other states that make seat belts a primary-offense law, which means police officers won’t need to detect any other moving violation to issue a ticket for non-compliance with the seat belt law.
It also comes on the heels of another new law designed to curb distracted driving. That law — prohibiting the use of any handheld devices while driving in West Virginia — took effect last week, one year after texting behind the wheel became a primary offense in the state.
Buckle up. No talking on your cellphone. No texting.
These three laws can go a long way in keeping countless West Virginia drivers safe every day.
And let’s face it — clicking a seat belt into place should be one of the first things drivers do when they get behind the wheel. Just as important as adjusting mirrors and tucking away your cellphone, wearing seat belts is a vital step toward keeping drivers safe.
That’s not just our opinion. The National Safety Council reports that seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives from 2004 to 2008.
Sadly, even though seat belt use averages 88 percent nationally, there are still groups less likely to wear seat belts: teens, commercial drivers, males in rural areas, pickup truck drivers, people driving at night and people who have been drinking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says adult seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives, and seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about 50 percent.
What’s especially troubling is that the CDC says adults who live in rural areas are 10 percent less likely to wear seat belts than adults who live in urban and suburban areas. In addition, seat belt use is lower in states with secondary enforcement seat belt laws or no seat belt laws compared to states with primary enforcement laws.
Wearing seat belts is an effective — and simple — way to save lives. And now that you can be cited for not wearing a seat belt while driving, the extra second or two it takes to click it into place when you get behind the wheel could save you a few extra bucks as well.
Click it or ticket.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
Funds donated to United Way make community healthier, happier, safer place
A dollar you give to the United Way of Marion County could feed a hungry family.
That dollar could protect a woman and her children from an abuser.
Or the dollar could mean that a family receives credit counseling to lift them out of overwhelming debt.
It could fund Scouting programs, where boys and girls learn lifelong lessons.
Project Launchpad puts critical concept of diversifying state economy into play
The case for diversifying the state of West Virginia’s economy is past the point of debate.
While it is our hope that coal can continue to have a role in our nation’s power-generating matrix, we’ve learned our lesson about over-dependence on a single industry. Particularly being overly dependent on an industry that, in the eyes of federal regulators, is out of fashion.
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- Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition