Local law enforcement agencies Friday joined a statewide effort to keep motorists safe at a traffic checkpoint held in Lincolnton.
The stateâ€™s spring Click It or Ticket campaign began May 24.
â€œThe whole idea behind this is safety for the motoring public and citizens of North Carolina,â€ said Frank Hackney, highway safety specialist with the Governorâ€™s Highway Safety Program.
Officers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Lincoln County Sheriffâ€™s Office and Lincolnton Police Department joined forces Friday at a checkpoint at U.S. 321 and East Main Street.
The checkpoints are designed to increase public awareness to the fact that seat belts are required by law, Hackney said. Officials also want drivers to know that law enforcement officers will cite them for violations.
Anyone 16 or older will be fined $75 for not buckling up. Itâ€™s considered a child passenger safety violation for children younger than 16 who arenâ€™t strapped in, and that means a $125 fine and two drivers license points.
While Hackney said there are people who look at the seat belt laws as being rip offs, most people take them seriously.
During the campaignâ€™s first week running May 24 to 30, about 86 percent of drivers were found to be buckling up. The national use rate is 79 percent. Counties with the highest occupant protection citation totals last week include Mecklenburg, Wake and Surry.
Statewide, a total of 10,803 safety belt and 848 child passenger safety violations were issued during 3,602 checkpoints and stepped-up patrols, according to a press release.
Besides cracking down on unrestrained drivers and passengers, officers charged 1,087 drivers with driving while impaired.
Of the total 40,874 violations, there were 553 drug charges, 41 stolen vehicles and 22 fugitives from justice.
Figures from the checkpoint in Lincolnton were not immediately available.
Hackney, who travels from checkpoint to checkpoint around the state, said the success of Click It or Ticket is linked directly to local law enforcement officers and their support of the program.
â€œThe benefits that are reaped should come back to law enforcement,â€ he said.by Alice Smith