EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) and local law enforcement are reminding the community to buckle up while driving with their annual “Click it or Ticket” campaign starting on Monday, May 15.

Law enforcement will be on the lookout for unbuckled drivers and passengers. A concentrated enforcement period for the campaign begins on Monday, May 22 and lasts through Sunday, June 4, according to the release sent by NMDOT.

The following was shared by NMDOT:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 50% of those killed in crashes in 2021 were unbuckled.
  • The national seat belt use rate in 2022 was 91.6%.
  • The “Click it or Ticket” campaign focuses on the 8.4% who don’t buckle up.
  • Among young adults age 18 to 34 killed in passenger vehicle crashes in 2021,more than half (59%) were completely unbuckled, one of the highest percentages for all age groups.
  • Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
  • In 2021, 66% of the 26,325 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed were men.
  • Men wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do and 54% of men killed in crashes were unbuckled, compared to 42% of women killed in crashes.
  • High-visibility seat belt enforcement is important 24 hours a day, but nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants.
  • In 2021, 57% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.

NMDOT says there are certain misconceptions about seatbelt safety when driving. Driving a pickup truck, sitting in the back seat unbuckled and living in a rural area can still expose you to dangerous situations if not wearing a seat belt.

According to NMDOT, 61 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2021 were not buckled and 47 percent of passengers who were killed were not wearing a seatbelt.

Fifty percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2021 were unbuckled but 57 percent of those killed in back seats were unbuckled.

NMDOT adds there were 12,534 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations and about 13,681 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those, 51 percent of those killed in rural locations were not wearing seat belts compared to 49 percent in urban settings.

Learn more about the “Click It or Ticket” campaign at NHTSA.gov/ciot.