GLEN BURNIE, MD (May 22, 2023) – As Marylanders prepare to travel during the Memorial Day weekend, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration and law enforcement agencies are reminding travelers to click it – don’t risk it. Starting Monday, May 22, and continuing through Sunday, June 4, more than 35 Maryland law enforcement agencies are joining together for the 2023 Click It or Ticket campaign with efforts in every county aimed at increasing seat belt usage and enforcing seat belt laws.
“There’s no doubt that the most effective way to save a life in a crash is to properly wear a seat belt,” said Motor Vehicle Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Wes Moore’s Highway Safety Representative. “When people in vehicles are unbelted, they can become projectiles in a crash, causing serious injuries – or death – to themselves or other passengers. We’re asking everyone to buckle up. It’s a simple choice that could save lives.”
“Drivers must make countless decisions during their travels. Whether or not to wear a seat belt shouldn’t be one of those decisions,” said Col. Kevin M. Anderson, chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police and chair of the Maryland Chief's and Sheriff's Traffic Safety Committee. “Protect yourself and those you care about by ensuring seat belts are used every seat, every ride.”
The Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office is promoting its campaign, Be the BUCKLED UP Driver, which focuses on the excuses – none of them valid – often used by drivers and passengers for not wearing a seat belt. From short trips to low speeds, many people actively choose not to wear their seat belt. Statistics from the Motor Vehicle Administration’s new Crash Data Dashboard indicate 155 unrestrained occupants were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Maryland in 2022.
In Maryland, the law requires every driver and passenger to wear a seat belt. If passengers older than 16 are not wearing a seat belt, the driver can receive an $83 ticket for each offense. Children younger than 8 must be in an appropriate booster or child safety seat unless they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall or taller.
Under a new law that took effect October 2022, a person transporting a child under age 2 in a motor vehicle is required to secure the child in a rear-facing child safety seat that complies with federal regulations until the child reaches the manufacturer's weight or height limit for the child safety seat. The American Academy of Pediatrics and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both recommend children ride rear facing for as long as possible, as it offers the best protection in the event of a crash.
Officials encourage everyone who transports children – including parents, grandparents, guardians and other family members – to ensure they are using the right car seat for the age and weight of each child and that it is installed correctly. Agencies across the state, including the Maryland Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) program, offer in-person and virtual checks to teach parents and caregivers how to correctly use car seats. Visit zerodeathsmd.gov/road-safety/child-passenger-safety for more information.
Learn more about the Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.