By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some of us don’t always do it. But this holiday weekend, driving off without first buckling up is a priority for all those extra police out on the road.

Alex DeMetrick reports you could bring home an unwanted souvenir.

There are plenty of ways to get written up, but a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt is becoming more common.

“We’re always shocked that that simple safety device is not used on a routine basis,” said Chief James Johnson, Baltimore County Police.

Putting out media warnings is becoming a summer routine.  This year’s has special effects.

“If you don’t buckle up, you will get stuck with a ticket.  ‘Click it or ticket,'” the PSA said.

College students have also been hired for a less high-tech approach. Papered with tickets, they’re paid to stand in public places.

“People are curious. They want to see what we’re wearing.  We just tell them wear your seatbelts,” said Alan Lu, public safety worker.

“Amazingly, some 45 million Americans, 15 percent of us, still won’t buckle up.  Young people, young men especially, are at risk,” said Roy LaHood, Transportation Secretary.

The highest unbelted fatality rates are among ages 21 to 34.  They represent 62 percent of nighttime accidents and 44 percent of daytime accidents. Annually more than 3,600 lives could have been saved if seatbelts had been worn.  

“Wearing your seatbelt costs nothing.  Not wearing it costs everything,” said LaHood.

In most states, you have to be pulled over for something else before being ticketed for a seatbelt violation, but not in Maryland.

“Today in the state of Maryland, not wearing a seatbelt is a primary violation, meaning the officer can stop you based on observation alone,” said Johnson.

Nationwide, 10,000 departments will be looking.

As its law enforcement spokesman for this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation has selected Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson.

Comments (19)
  1. seriously? says:

    Just an excuse to pull You over and try to arrest you.

  2. ben says:

    Why should we be concerned (and ultimately pay for) the safety of those 3,600 lives lost per year when they obvoiusly don’t care about themselves? Every driver knows the government’s view on seatbelts. If they don’t want to wear them, so what? If the risk of death isn’t helping people wear seatbelts, will a $100 fine really matter? And, is that 3,600 people per year the total traffic fatalities who weren’t wearing seatbelts? How many would have still died even if they were wearing seatbelts?

  3. Kurt says:

    More of the same, Big Brother is watching you and making you behave.

    If you don’t behave, you will be punished. This is what has become of our so-called freedom. We used to be freer. : (

    1. Buck says:

      What is Freer?…. Apparently, you hit your head on the windshield!….
      And had a cell phone to your ear

  4. Doug says:

    Yeah,I’m all for wearing a seatbelt .

    BUT !!!!
    I’ll be damned if I need Big Brother telling me,then looking to fine me if I forget.
    We don’t need this as a law,but a strong suggestion only.
    If you cops have nothing else going on,
    Disband and save us tax payers some cash.
    Welcome to Soviet America.

    1. Captain Seat Belt says:

      Hey Doug…Your driving along. Take an impact with no seatbelt.
      You are knocked away from the steering wheel.
      Unable to control your car, impact another law abiding citizen and kill them.Investigation determines if you could have controlled you vehicle had been wearing that silly seat belt…So, you get charged… Then hire a lawyer to defend you in court. You are S.O.L.
      Why you ask…Because Maryland has a what is called Contributory Negligence.

      You have no opinion as you have no intelligence. Get your GED.

      Another person who thinks driving in the State Of Maryland is a Right…

  5. Jennifer Edmondson says:

    Instead forcing idiots to buckle up, how about we really crack down on the drunk drivers? You know, more patrol cars out and about? Speeding and drinking take away innocent lives. Someone who is not wearing their seatbelt, well that is their responsibility.

  6. DB of Joppa says:

    I’ve cut nearly as many dead folks out of seatbelts in their mangled cars as I have the unbelted…Insurance companies lobbied for this law & our politicians seized on a chance to increase revenue! Companies that reap the benefits of a legislatively mandated service should be barred from lobbying!

  7. MJH1963 says:

    Oh my, how very scary. Am I the only one who is sick of cops? Instead of looking for truly violent criminals they prey on motorists minding their own business. Why you ask? Because the real bad guys shoot back. Us sheeple don’t. And of course, we have the money the cops need to steal at the point of the gun. I think we’d be far better off without these “public servants”. Get rid of them…

  8. Bronze says:

    LOL Can you say POLICE STATE ?

    You MORONS !!

  9. edgarhons says:

    Oh quit crying Big Brother, there’s nothing wrong a with a seatbelt law. The roads were built by the govt and you need a govt issued ID to drive on them, they’re not called freedom-tar. It’s some govt department that will have to scoop up the corpses and another department that will have to deal with any survivors. Refusing to wear a seatbelt IS a burden on others, no matter what cowboy story you want to invent in your head. Until it’s not a burden (like if you’re driving around in your backyard) then don’t cry when others expect something of you in return.

    1. bronze says:

      edgar, no offense, but you are a MORON

      so stfu and let freedom loving people speak

      ok, dipcjit ?

      thank you

  10. andy says:

    We’re morons because we have allowed ourselves to be. The Patriot act passed right under our noses in the name of National security can lock your a$$ up fopr no real reason & detain you for years. The people need to write their legislators & demand a recall of this act & several others that the Bush administration imposed in the name of security. Seat belts are great but I to don’t need big Brother telling me. I would much prefer the state & county police stopping the erratic cell phone, drunk & road rage drivers out on the beltway & I-95 everyday. I see them . how come they don’t & are nowhere to be found.

  11. Bronze says:

    Billboards over the highways
    police ready to bust the common citizen for doing nothing wrong
    TSA agents
    Warnings at friggen Walmart; “See Something Say Something”

    It’s Spring 1984 people !!
    Fascists America is taking Over !

    Speak up !

    Say Something !

    Your Liberties are being Stripped from you

    right in front of your eyes !

    and it’s not fking funny !

  12. Mike says:

    Martin Omalley: We care about your Safety

    Translation: I like Stealing from Marylanders to resolve the budget deficit caused by ME giving everything to Public Unions in exchange for their votes.

  13. Tuv Too says:

    Stupid cops, go find some REAL criminals to harass!

  14. Mike says:

    Wow. Is this the State Police’s version of a Holiday Bake Sale to raise money. One would think the police should have more important matters to focus on. Maybe we could use less of them……and SAVE money. That would be a novel idea in this Liberal utopia of a State.

  15. susan says:

    How about that when you are in a crash wearing the seat belt and it jams or locks up and you can not get it undone while you are stuck in a burning vehicle? What do you so-call police protectors tell the families? Oh your loved ones died in a crash because the had their seat belts on? For every crash that happens some people die and some do not, so it really does not matter now does it?

  16. Mark says:

    I agree with the police, I think they should expand it. They should be out checking to see that kids are wearing helmets even if they are walking, falls kill hundreds of people per year and a helmet would save their brain. they should also force people to eat healthy food cause we all know that WE pay for unheathy lifestyes. on that note Gay people get AIDS at a much higher rate than straights so we should OUTLAW that as well. just submit to your government and majority opinion because they know best

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