CLICK IT … Multiple individuals including staff members from the Fulton County Health Center, University of Toledo Medical Center, Wauseon Police Department and Fulton County Sheriff’s Office stand together to kickoff the start of Click it or Ticket. (PHOTO BY JACOB KESSLER / THE VILLAGE REPORTER)
By: Jacob Kessler
Fulton County kicked off this year’s Click it or Ticket season with an event at the Fulton County Health Center on Monday May 15th.
The event brought in medical personnel from the Fulton County Health Center and University of Toledo Medical Center as well as law enforcement representatives including Wauseon Patrolman Matt McDonough and Sheriff Roy Miller.
Click it or Ticket is an event that begins around the Memorial Day holiday, this year running from May 23rd to June 5th.
The purpose is to remind drivers and passengers of how important it is to buckle up as well as the legal consequences if they do not.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2020 10,893 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes in the United States.
Among the young adults killed, more than half (60%) were completely unrestrained. Since 2017, seatbelts have saved over 15,000 lives.
May is also Trauma Awareness Month which helps to spread awareness of the widespread impacts trauma has and to understand recovery paths victims have to endure.
This awareness month began back in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan recognized a need for it. Since then, the American Trauma Society has worked with other trauma organizations to spread their message.
Each year a new focus is designated, with some previous campaigns tackling drunk driving, teen driving, sports injuries, and more.
Both the Click it or Ticket event and Trauma Awareness Month brings together two things that happen when somone gets into a crash and is not wearing a seat belt.
UTMC’s Trauma Medical Director Dr. Aela Vely explained a little bit of just what they see when a patient comes in after choosing not to wear a seat belt.
“Being ejected from a vehicle is serious and can lead to a fatality or a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) which often times alters someone life.”
“It will impact the patient’s life for the long term as well as their ability to function in day-to-day things or with employment. Severe skeletal injuries are also a significant problem.”
“As a trauma surgeon we don’t see the fatalities that happen on scene, but we do see the severely injured who come in and will stay in the hospital for a very long time.”
“Whether this is for rehab, learning to function again such as walking, combing your hair again, and cognitive or speech therapy.”
“This is about putting a spotlight on all of this. Seat belts were invented over 50 years ago and they have changed the outcome of car crashes.”
“Cars are faster, and roads are busier, so injury chances are higher. Seatbelts make a difference and people are surviving more,” said Dr. Vely.
Sheriff Roy Miller also explained that seatbelt usage in Fulton County has gone down. “We are wanting to be out to remind people to wear their seat belts.”
“Unfortunately, our last count from the state that took place at intersections show that seat belt usage is down in the county.”
“We will be out running with OSP (Ohio State Highway Patrol) and other police agencies looking for seat belt infractions.”
“We want to avoid bad crashes because seeing a body outside of the car means there is a lot less chance of survival then when they stay inside from the seat belts.”
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, from 2018 to May 5th, 2023, there have been 269,048 unbelted crashes.
There have also been 2,643 fatalities in Ohio along with those individuals not being restrained. There have also been 450,172 seat belt violations that have been cited.
The Ohio Revised Code states that everyone in the front seat, regardless of age, must wear a seatbelt.
It goes on to state that every child from the age of 8 to 15 who is not secured in a car seat must be secured by a seat belt no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle.
Children eight years old and younger must be secured in their appropriate safety seat.
Jacob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org