Madison (WKOW) -- from NHTSA: Law enforcement from throughout the Midwest will be stepping up enforcement of seat belt and other traffic safety laws during the upcoming weekend with extra efforts being focused during night-time hours.
The Click It or Ticket mobilization is gearing up as motorists prepare to celebrate the four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
"Police agencies throughout the Midwest are joining together this Thanksgiving holiday with one simple goal: to save lives on our roadways," said Michael Witter, regional administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"We want all motorists to arrive at their destinations safely. While law enforcement officials will tell you that issuing tickets is never a pleasant experience, however, having to notify next of kin following a fatal crash is by far a worse scenario," said Witter.
Nationally, during the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2006, 457 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, including 188 during daylight hours and 266 during night-time.
Night-time is one of the more dangerous times on the road because seat belt use is at its lowest point of the day.
Witter expressed particular concern that of the 266 night-time Thanksgiving passenger vehicle occupant deaths nationally in 2006, over half (138) with their seat belts unfastened.
"Wearing a seat belt costs you nothing, and may save your life or protect you from a serious, possibly life-altering injury. Not wearing a seat belt, especially during this Thanksgiving period, will definitely cost you a ticket at the very least, and maybe even your life," Witter added.
Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalitities in motor vehicle crashes.
Research has shown that when seat belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury is reduced by 50 percent.
"In addition to stepped up seat belt enforcement, police will also be cracking down on impaired drivers and those driving at excessive speeds," added Witter.
"Anyone caught driving impaired will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Witter continued.
"Additionally, law enforcement will be ticketing motorists who are speeding," he concluded.
State police from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin are participating in the holiday mobilization.
The enforcement will run from Tuesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 30.