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Memorial Day on NH Roads: No Ticket No Excuse Not to 'Click it'

May 22, 2008

Londonderry, NH - Grownups in New Hampshire can't get a "ticket" if they don't "click it," but police still urge motorists to use their seat belts when they take to the roads this holiday weekend. Peace officers in all the other 49 states are focusing on seat belt use this weekend, and will be able to issue citations to drivers who don't comply with local seatbelt laws.

But Londonderry police chief Joe Ryan, with the Seat Belts for All Coalition, says New Hampshire police are forced to resort to persuasion.

"We're the only state in the nation that does not have a seatbelt law, so what we can do is ask people to recognize that not wearing your seat belt is a huge, huge danger."

New Hampshire has resisted seat belt laws because of its "Live Free or Die" tradition. However, Ryan says police chiefs believe a seat belt law would protect everyone, just as speed limits and stop signs help keep all drivers safe.

"There is a certain amount of protection to others who are wearing their seatbelts when all are belted in, and we believe that simple fact outweighs the freedom of having the choice to say 'I'm not wearing it.'"

A seat belt law proposal has gone down in defeat in each of the last several legislative sessions, but Ryan says the state Association of Chiefs of Police plans to work with the Coalition again next year. He says the chiefs believe that saving lives deserve another try.

The "Click It Or Ticket" campaign is being organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and statistics on seatbelt safety can be found online at
www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

John Robinson/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NH