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Bedford Police Remind Passengers: Click It or Ticket

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- The Bedford Police Department is cracking down on those who fail to comply with seatbelt laws as part of the 2012 national Click It or Ticket campaign that kicks off May 21.

"Typically people are under the impression that we're not as vigilant at night," said Sgt. Mel Padilla, Bedford police traffic safety coordinator. This is not true, he said, but the laws are harder to enforce because it is dark.

Typically, he said, people tend to relax seatbelt use at night, but this can have deadly consequences.

In 2010, of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants killed in overnight car accidents, 61 percent were not wearing their seat belts, compared with 42 percent of those killed in daytime accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Seatbelt violations are most often given out when drivers are pulled over for other traffic infractions, Padilla said. At DWI checkpoints, for example, he said, officers are not just checking for intoxication but also for seatbelt compliance, cellphone use, invalid registration or vehicle inspection stickers and many other potential infractions. Many of these details can be noted by an officer in an instant, said Padilla.

Though police enforcement will be increased by adding patrols and placing checkpoints in high volume traffic areas such as Depot Plaza, it is just as important that the campaign is raising awareness so people will more seriously consider their own safety, Padilla said.

The 2012 campaign runs from May 21 through June 3, but police want drivers to be aware that they are out heavily enforcing seatbelt laws throughout the year.

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