Area law enforcement will be cracking down on seat belt violators.


The 2020 Kansas Click It or Ticket campaign runs Monday through May 31.


Travelers can expect increased police presence in Ottawa as the police department joins other law enforcement agencies in aggressively enforcing Kansas occupant restraint and other traffic laws as part of the 2020 Kansas Click It or Ticket campaign, Ottawa Police Department officials said.


The campaign is supported by a Kansas Department of Transportation grant. Enforcement will occur around the clock, officials said.


Statistics show wearing seat belts saves lives of those involved in vehicle accidents.


If a driver is not belted, only about 20% of the front-outboard passengers are belted. If the driver is belted about 98% of the front-outboard passengers were belted.


It was found that 98% of children up to 4 years old are buckled into child safety seats. Only 87% of 5- to 14-year-olds are properly restrained, which means 1 out of 8 Kansas children ages 5-14 are made vulnerable while traveling because of the failure of their drivers to restrain them, officials said.


The aim of Click It or Ticket is to effectively reduce the number of preventable deaths and injuries that occur when unbelted drivers and passengers are involved in traffic crashes, police officials said.


About 345 persons are involved in 170 crashes each day in Kansas. Only 7% of those who are unbelted are likely to escape without injury. Half of all fatalities occur among those who are not wearing a seat belt. While seat belts may not always prevent a serious or fatal injury, certainly no other piece of equipment within the vehicle provides more protection.


Drivers will be met with strict enforcement of both the Kansas Safety Belt Use Act and the Kansas Child Passenger Safety Act, officials said. These statutes require that all vehicle occupants must be appropriately restrained. Law enforcement officers can stop vehicles and issue tickets when they observe occupants riding unrestrained or without proper restraint.


Occupants, over 14, are cited individually. If a passenger under 14 is observed to be unrestrained, the driver will be cited.


Children under the age of four must be correctly secured in an approved child safety seat. Children ages 4 through 7 must be securely belted into an approved booster seat. Once a child is taller than 4 feet 9 inches and/or weighs more than 80 pounds, the booster seat may be removed.


All children, ages 8 through 13, must wear seat belts. In addition, Kansas law prohibits persons under the age of 14 from riding in any part of a vehicle not intended for carrying passengers, such as a pickup bed.


Kansas’ overall adult seat belt compliance rate is 85% and ranges by county from 62% to 97%, with occupants in rural counties generally less likely to buckle up than those in urban counties, officials said


Ottawa police officers want local residents to remember that when drivers don’t buckle up, or require their passengers to buckle up, they are assuring themselves, their family, friends and others, that no circumstance will arise that will activate seat belts, police officials said. Things do happen, they said, so take necessary steps to keep yourself, your friends, and your family safe.


Officials said Ottawa officers are committed to aggressively ticketing violators of adult seat belt and child safety laws, as well as other traffic infractions.