Woodward, Okla. —
If you plan on traveling this weekend, make sure you buckle up.
Especially for those driving the "Mother Road," as law enforcement officers across 8 states will be participating in a 24-hour crackdown on seatbelt violations this Friday, Feb. 1. This quarterly officer mobilization and focus on seat belt and child passenger safety laws is known as "Get Your 'Clicks' on Route 66."
Law enforcement agencies along Route 66 in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Illinois will have officers out making contact with travelers to help ensure they are protecting themselves by buckling up.
Alice Collinsworth, communications manager with the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, said the Route 66 seat belt enforcement effort "started out in Central Oklahoma in August 2010."
Collinsworth said a number of agencies in Central Oklahoma were looking for a way to create awareness about seatbelt safety. And since Route 66 is such a "major thoroughfare" through the area, she said "it was the logical place to start."
Because Route 66 crosses several states, she said the mobilization quickly grew and became "a popular effort" all along the historic highway.
As to why the officer mobilization focuses on seat belt safety, Collinsworth said it is because seat belts are "the number one way to protect yourself in a crash."
"Buckling up is the best thing to do to keep yourself and your family safe, but sometimes we take the seatbelt laws for granted and people get careless," she said. "So we just want to remind them how important it is to buckle up and protect everyone in your vehicle."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 13,000 lives are saved across the country every year by seatbelts and child restraints, and motorists are 75 percent less likely to be killed in rollover crashes if they are buckled up.