Santa Monica police say that they will be out in force this holiday season looking for anyone — driver, passenger or child — who is not properly restrained as part of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

Given the years of public awareness campaigns, including hundreds of “Click It or Ticket” highway signs, police say that no warnings will be given out. The campaign relies on heavy enforcement and education as a means to help save lives on California’s roadways, police note.

“There is absolutely no question that seat belts save lives,” Santa Monica Police Chief Timothy Jackman said. “Buckling up will not only save you a heavy fine, it can also save your life.”

Currently California has a seat belt usage rate of 95.4 percent, but over 1.5 million people in the state are still not buckling up, according to statistics. Properly restrained drivers, passengers and children have a 50-percent better chance of surviving a crash than unbelted occupants, while those ejected from vehicles in crashes or roll-overs are up to 35 times more likely to die than restrained occupants, police say.

“There are no excuses. Nothing is worth risking the lives of you or your family,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “This should be the season of joy and thanksgiving, not tragedy.”

More than 175 local law enforcement agencies statewide and the California Highway Patrol will be participating in this year’s Click It or Ticket mobilization. Funding to support the campaign was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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