Sheriff's Office cracking down on seatbelts - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Sheriff's Office cracking down on seatbelts

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By: Brittany Paris

The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office is kicking off this year's holiday season with one message. Click It or Ticket.

"Get people to think about buckling up and traveling safely," Sgt. Derek Horalek, Lancaster County, said.

They're beefing up enforcement with more than a dozen additional deputies.

They set up a safety checkpoint near Highway 77 and Waverly Road from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, hoping drivers they stop, and those who get to drive by, will pay a little more attention to the roads when traveling.

They say your best defense against a crash? A seat belt.

Just ask Erin Walker, a 20-year-old student from Morse Bluff.

"I actually was in a car accident when I was 16. I rolled my car on a gravel road and the seatbelt saved my life," she said. "I landed upside down in my car, and I would've been dead if I didn't have it on."

Walker says she doesn't mind added a few minutes to her travel time if it means safer roads.

"It's a good reminder for people who forget to put on their seatbelts."

But just how important is it to buckle up?

According to a study by the CDC, seatbelts reduce your risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 50 percent. But it's estimated only 78 percent of drivers in Nebraska wore their seatbelts last year. That's lower than the national average of 86 percent.

"We're working to increase the seatbelt usage and child restraint usage across the nation," Horalek said.

They say it only takes two seconds to buckle up, but those two seconds could mean life or death.

Even though the checkpoint has ended, deputies are still doing what they call, saturation control, where they'll continue to look for any traffic violations to get the awareness out there.

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