Wisconsin law enforcement agencies crack down on seatbelt use - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin law enforcement agencies crack down on seatbelt use


Starting this week, law enforcement officials are cracking down on seatbelt use across the state.

Wood County Deputy Sheriff Adam Berry is patrolling the streets of Wisconsin Rapids. He said he's always looking for people who aren't wearing a seatbelt.

"Depending on the location or time of day that the grant is, I might make anywhere from 10-15 stops for seatbelt violations," said Berry.

He said the statewide "Click It or Ticket" campaign is an important reminder for drivers.

"A lot of the accidents you have, where you have people with significant injuries, a high percentage of the time, they weren't wearing the seatbelt when the accident happened," said Berry.

The "Click It or Ticket" campaign kicks off Monday statewide and Wood County officials said they'll be out in full force to make sure you're buckling up.

"We'll have 28 extra squads out there over that period of time, looking for seatbelt violations. That's their primary thing," said Wood County Sheriff's Department, Sgt. Lee Garrels.

Garrels said enforcing the seatbelt law in central Wisconsin is a high priority for police officers.

Since last October, the Wood County Sheriff's Department has written 585 seatbelt violations.

According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, last year there were more than 100,000 people cited for violating the seatbelt law across the state.

As Berry patrolled the area, it didn't take long to find someone violating the law.

"The reason I stopped you is because you weren't wearing your seatbelt when I saw you back there," said Berry.

While the fine is only $10 for not wearing a seatbelt, Wood County officers said it's not just about the money, but the reminder that they're watching.

"The percentage of people in Wisconsin that don't wear their seatbelt has gone down, I think it's about 16 percent," said Sgt. Lee.

Officials hope that number will continue to go down as the "Click It or Ticket" campaign continues.

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