SPRINGFIELD — The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Office of Grants and Research (OGR) awarded the Springfield Police Department a grant to increase patrols and remind drivers and passengers about the live-saving benefits of wearing a seat belt.  The Springfield Police Department will join other departments across the Commonwealth in the National “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign.

“Too often, when we see serious crashes or fatalities, the drivers or passengers aren’t properly buckled up.   Using a seat-belt has been proven to save lives.  This campaign is about public safety,” said Springfield Police Captain David Martin who is in charge of the Traffic Unit.

“Seat belts are the best way to protect yourself from dangerous drivers,” said Kevin Stanton, Executive Director of the OGR.  “You might be an excellent driver, but not everyone else is.  Seat belts are your best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers.”

“Seat belts save lives. It’s as simple as that,” said Jeff Larason, Division Director of the OGR’s Highway Safety Division. “Massachusetts has one of the lowest seat belt use rates in the nation.  We need to change that.”

Although it is a secondary offense for adults, Massachusetts law requires every person in a passenger motor vehicle to wear a safety belt or if a child be properly restrained. Any driver who is stopped by a law enforcement officer for a primary traffic violation and is not wearing a safety belt can be fined $30.  Also not wearing a seat belt is a primary offense for children under 13 years old.  If a child is not wearing a seat belt the driver can receive a citation.

DATA Provided by the Executive Office of Public Safety:

Massachusetts’ seat belt use rate is consistently lower than the national average, ranking 45th in the 2019 seat belt observational study.

At 81.6% use, over 1.2 million Bay Staters still are not regularly buckling up.  The national seat belt use rate is 90.7% (2019)

In Massachusetts, a larger percentage of pickup trucks (71%) and SUVs (65%) fatalities are unrestrained compared to passenger cars (60%).

According to NHTSA, seat belts saved an estimated 61 lives in Massachusetts in 2018.

68% of nighttime fatalities are unrestrained in Massachusetts compared to 55% of unrestrained daytime fatalities.

For more information on the OGR’s Municipal Road Safety and distracted driving enforcement grant program, please visit www.mass.gov/service-details/traffic-safety-grants.