Leading up through Thanksgiving Day weekend, local law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on people who are not buckling up.
The Cape Coral Police Department, Lee County Sheriff's Office and Fort Myers Police Department have joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Click It or Ticket campaign, which will run until Nov. 26.
"The gist of the campaign is safety. If you wear your seat belt it could potentially save your life in a crash," Lt. Tony Sizemore, a spokesman for the Cape Coral Police Department, said Thursday.
During Click It or Ticket, Cape officers will stop motorists who are not buckled up to educate them on the value of wearing a seat belt.
Motorists can expect warning and even citations for not buckling up.
"Our traffic bureau is really concentrating on it," Sizemore said.
LCSO spokesman Lt. Larry King explained that as the holidays approach, people get in a hurry and the agency wants to raise awareness of issue.
"While our compliance percentage has continually risen over the years," he said. "We still have a way to go with getting everyone to buckle up."
The fine for a seat belt violation in Lee County is $111.
"It is a primary reason for a traffic stop," King said, adding that the agency's traffic unit and district patrol deputies will be on the lookout.
"Our focus is not just on the driver of the vehicle, but the passengers as well," he said. "We will also be watching for children not buckled up."
The fine for a seat belt violation involving a child is $161.
According to King, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 71 percent in infants and 54 percent for toddlers riding in passenger cars.
He offered the following tips for motorists with children:
n Use a child safety seat every time.
n Select a car seat based on the child's age and size.
n Chose a seat that fits in your vehicle.
The Fort Myers Police Department reported that motorists will see digital message boards within the city reminding them to buckle up and be safe.
Officers will be set up at various intersections looking for violators.
Shelly Flynn, the spokeswoman for the FMPD, reported that seat belts are the single most effective piece of safety equipment in a vehicle.
According to national statistics, seat belts can reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front seat occupants by 45 percent when worn correctly and 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans when again worn correctly.
"Police will be ticketing unbelted drivers and passengers around the clock day and night," she reported in a prepared statement. "If you see a digital message board in your travels, you will likely see officers enforcing the law."