05/30/07 — Officials: No click it, so they got 51 tickets

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Officials: No click it, so they got 51 tickets

By Lee Williams
Published in News on May 30, 2007 1:46 PM

Some obeyed the law, but more than four dozen drivers met by Goldsboro police at six checkpoints and 16 random patrols failed to wear their seat belts during the first week of the Click It or Ticket campaign.

Police posted signs along streets warning drivers they were in the Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement zone and also spread the word with the help of local media, but not everyone heeded the warning.

According to statistics compiled by Goldsboro police Capt. John Biggins, officers issued a total of 171 citations including 51 citations for seat belt violations. A total of 49 citations were issued for safety belt violations and two for child passenger safety violations.

Maj. Mike Hopper, who heads the patrol division, attributed some of the problem to drivers who simply had a lot on their mind over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

"A lot of them get preoccupied with their daily lives ... and some fail to buckle up their seat belts," Hopper said.

He also attributed some of the problem to unfounded beliefs about seat belts.

"There's a certain percentage that will never wear them," Hopper said. "They hear the stereotypical story that if they are in a crash and if there's a fire, they will be trapped inside," he said.

But this is simply not the case, he added.

"Most of our accidents are minor," he said. "But even at 35 mph, a person in an accident can be left with some serious injuries. It's extremely hard to brace yourself and keep yourself from hitting the steering wheel."

Click It or Ticket will continue until June 3. During the push, police also will be working to spread the word about the new law that will take effect regarding rules for back seat passengers July 1.

Today, a driver or front seat passenger who is cited for not wearing a seat belt could face a $25 fine and $75 court costs. As of July 1, the back seat passenger could face a citation and a $10 fine for not wearing a seat belt, Hopper said.

"We've been writing warning tickets now to let people know," he said.

The Click It or Ticket campaign got off to a great start, police said.

During the initiative geared to increase seat belt usage from 86.6 to 90 percent, police also issued 121 citations for a variety of infractions including five for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police also cited three for drug violations including Fransisco Baltasar, 44, of Goldsboro for possessing more than three kilos of cocaine in his vehicle console. Police called the find a record drug seizure for the patrol division.

Police also issued 22 citations for speeding, 17 for driving while license revoked, four for no insurance and two for reckless driving.