Springfield, Clark, state agencies unite for Click It or Ticket campaign

The Clark County Safe Communities Coalition along with local and state law enforcement agencies combined Friday afternoon to kick off the Click It or Ticket national campaign at the Clark County Fairgrounds to increase seatbelt usage and save lives.

The enforcement period is done prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, one of the heaviest travel weekends of the year. The 2019 National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization began May 20 and runs through June 2.

Representatives of the Clark County Combined Health District and AAA Miami Valley & Northwest Ohio joined Lt. Brian Aller of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Lt. Brett Bauer of the Springfield Police Department, Lt. Mike Holler of the Enon Police Department and Deputy Joe Johnson of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in greeting those entering or exiting the Springfield Swap Meet and Car Show.

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Those wearing seatbelts were rewarded with discount cards for Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken and those not wearing them were given a friendly reminder card with statistics on the dangers of not doing so.

This is the tradition’s 18th year locally according to Emma Smales of the CCHD. She said the effort is to try to make the kickoff fun and informative.

Aller said he enjoys the close-knit interaction with his fellow law enforcement officers and the message they’re sending to the public, mentioning it’s heartbreaking to have to inform moms, dads and children following an accident where a seatbelt wasn’t worn.

“Airbags are good for one impact, but it’s the secondary crash involvement that kills people, like rollovers,” he said.

Aller said in about 56 percent of fatal car crashes locally in 2018 the victims weren’t wearing seatbelts. Excuses for not wearing seatbelts range from not going fast, being a careful driver and only driving a short distance.

Natalie Sherry, a trauma program manager with Kettering Health Network, was one of the volunteers helping the effort, and got to mark a goal off her bucket list - riding in the back of a cruiser, which she did to get to the fairground entrance.

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This was the only way she wanted to experience it. Sherry found it smaller, more cramped and claustrophobic than anticipated, and has still to skydive and learn to shoot a gun left.

That was where Sherry’s amusement ended. Since her daughter’s boyfriend died in an auto accident after not wearing a seatbelt, she’s become a fierce advocate for enforcing it.

She encountered one motorist resistant to put down his window and found him not wearing his seatbelt and a scowl on his face.

He claimed he puts it on last-minute, while his passenger had his on, mentioning he’s been in three accidents where seatbelts helped keep him safe.

Sherry handed the driver a reminder card and informed him she works with trauma victims and didn’t want to see him anytime in the future. The man smiled and slipped his seatbelt on.

“If I can make just one person safe doing this then it’s worth it,” Sherry said.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has extra deputies on county roads during this enforcement period and will have a zero tolerance policy for impaired operators of motor vehicles, speeding violations and seatbelt enforcement.

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