Vt., NY police join forces for Click It or Ticket campaign - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt., NY police join forces for Click It or Ticket campaign

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RUTLAND, Vt. - "I always wear my seat belt; it's just something that I do no matter where I am," said Ramona Mayhew of Rutland.

Mayhew does, but plenty of people don't buckle up. That's what we saw Tuesday when we joined the Rutland, Castleton and Brandon Police Departments at Piedmont Pond Road and Stratton Road in Rutland on Day Two of the Click It or Ticket "Border to Border" campaign. Drivers and passengers who weren't buckled up gave a variety of excuses.

"Just that they're in a hurry; they didn't know if someone was buckled up," Rutland City Police Lt. Kevin Geno said.

This initiative is a partnership between Vermont law enforcement and New York State Police to crack down on drivers who aren't wearing their seat belts. It kicked off May 19-- just in time for the busy travel season-- and goes through June 1 across the region.

Officials are pulling people over for speeding or other violations, and then checking to see if they have their seat belts on. If you get pulled over and you don't have your seatbelt on, the first time it's a $31 fine. Then the fines steadily increase up to $106. That's in addition to whatever fine you were going to get for speeding or the original reason you got pulled over.

Police are upping patrols. In Rutland County you will see an additional four to eight officers out daily.

A recent U.S. Transportation Department report shows that 52 percent of people killed in car crashes were not wearing seat belts. In his 38 years in law enforcement, Geno says he's seen his fair share of accidents where things could have been different if people were buckled up.

"Some awful tragedies, I can tell you that. People that could have been saved, people thrown out of cars, people that would have lived," Geno said.

Ramona Mayhew thinks people who don't take the time to buckle up are just being foolish.

"I think they're taking a risk," she said.

The Rutland Police Department says they have handed out 40 seatbelt violations. They also handed out three tickets for improper child seat restraints. If a child is under 1-year-old, they need to be facing backward and the seat needs to be securely fastened. It's not just Rutland Police who are doing this. Look for checkpoints around the region until June 1.

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