Seatbelt fines rise across state

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California law enforcement officials are now fining adults $142 for not wearing seat belts. The Auburn Police Department will be looking for unbelted drivers as a part of the 2010 Click it or Ticket campaign. Rates for a first-time adult offense have gone up $10, and fines for first-time offenders under the age of 16 are now $445. “Keep your friends and family safe by buckling up no matter where you’re going,” said Auburn Police Chief Valarie Harris. “We will be looking for motorists throughout the area who are not buckling up, day and night. It’s not just about avoiding a ticket; it’s about keeping the ones you care about alive.” Officers will not be issuing any warnings as a part of the heavy enforcement required by the campaign. About 95.3 percent of California drivers currently wear seat belts, according to the Auburn Police Department. Officials are hoping to raise that rate by educating drivers of the hazards of being on the road unbuckled. Drivers wearing seat belts have a 50 percent better chance of surviving a crash, according to the Auburn Police Department. Click it or Ticket signs on California roads will soon be updated to show the new minimum citation amount. “Wearing a seat belt is just simply the easiest and most effective thing you can do on the road to protect yourself and your family,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “That means buckling up day and night, on every trip.” ~ Staff report