The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the four county police departments are partnering to launch the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign by buckling down on those who are not buckled up. The goal of the mobilization is to save lives and reduce injuries by reminding everyone to buckle up. The annual enforcement and media campaign starts on May 11 and runs through May 25.

The HDOT reports that 11,854 drivers in Hawaii received citations during federal fiscal year 2014 for failure to use a seat belt. In addition, 1,573 drivers were issued citations for failure to secure a child under 8 years of age in their vehicles. As of June 2014, Hawaii had a seat belt usage rate of 94 percent, the same as the previous year.

“We’ve heard too many stories about senseless deaths that were the result of motor vehicle occupants being ejected from their vehicles,” HDOT Director Ford Fuchigami said. “The majority of those deaths could have been avoided if motor vehicle occupants simply remembered to wear their seat belts and restrain children in child safety seats.”

Hawaii’s universal seat belt law requires that all front and back seat motor vehicle occupants buckle up. Adults and children must use their seat belts and child restraints at all times. The fine for unrestrained occupants on Oahu, Hawaii and Maui is $102, and the fine on Kauai is $112.

Hawaii’s Child Passenger Restraint Law requires children less than 4 years of age to ride in a child safety seat. Children 4 through 7 years old must ride in a child passenger restraint or booster seat. Violators are required to appear in court. If convicted, violators are required to attend a four-hour class and may be assessed a penalty of $100-$500.

Stepped-up law enforcement activities will be conducted in all four counties during the Click It or Ticket mobilization period. This mobilization is being supported by a national paid advertising campaign, which, along with additional state advertising and community outreach, will encourage every driver and passenger to buckle up, day and night.

Seat Belt/Child Restraint Facts

  • In 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 people from dying nationally. From 2008 through 2012, seat belts saved nearly 63,000 lives.
  • If all passenger vehicle occupants 5 years of age and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts, an additional 3,031 lives could have been saved in 2012 alone.
  • In 2013, nearly half of the motor vehicle occupants who died in crashes were unrestrained.
  • Among adults 18 to 34 years old killed in crashes, 61 percent were completely unrestrained – the highest percentage of all age groups.
  • In 2013, there were 638 children 12 and younger killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of those fatalities, more than one third (38%) were unrestrained.
  • Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2013, about 65 percent of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed were men. So it comes as no surprise that they wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do – 54 percent of men in fatal crashes were unrestrained, compared to 41 percent for women.
  • Child passenger restraints can reduce deaths by as much as 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents and caregivers to keep their toddlers in rear-facing child safety seats until age 2 or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

During the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, and throughout the year, police statewide will continue strict enforcement of the state seat belt and child passenger restraint laws. The media and enforcement campaign is 100 percent federally funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.