Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department, the West Virginia Public Service Commission and the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program are reminding motorists that seat belts save lives.

The agencies have teamed up to emphasize to drivers as well as passengers that wearing a seat belt is not just a good idea – it’s the law, and they can either “Click It or Ticket.”

Also, as part of the Governor’s Highway Safety program, law enforcement officers are looking for additional violations to improve safety for the motoring public, according to Wyoming County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy C.S. Parker.

Not only do those violations include seat belt offenses, but also speeding, reckless driving, DUI, driving suspended, school zone and child safety violations, Parker noted.

Grant funding, through the state-funded program, provides money for overtime hours for officers while they patrol roads to increase safety, according to officials.

“We have deputies on the roads all over the county,” Sheriff Randall Aliff emphasized.

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Law enforcement agencies across the state are working together to reinforce the importance of seat belt safety and to conduct seat belt check points.

Through this joint effort, officers will be able to pull over even more private and commercial vehicles, according to a spokesperson.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts saved 12,174 lives in 2012.

Despite that, in 2015, more than 10,000 drivers in West Virginia were cited for seat belt violations, according to officials.

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West Virginia has had a primary enforcement seat belt law since 2013.

In 2012, West Virginia had 339 roadway fatalities, according to officials.

During the first full year after passing the law, fatalities dropped 18 percent, to 272.

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“Our goal is to reduce highway fatalities in West Virginia,” said Bob Tipton, Governor’s Highway Safety Program director.

“We have been fortunate to reach our goal of having a primary enforcement law and to have so many law enforcement officers and agencies willing to step up and promote ‘Click It or Ticket’.”

“Our agency is charged with improving safety on West Virginia’s roadways for commercial vehicles,” added Bob Blankenship, PSC’s transportation enforcement division director. “We all must remember to buckle up every time we get into a vehicle. The ‘Click-It or Ticket’ campaign is good for West Virginia because it saves lives.”

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