As the "Click It or Ticket" campaign begins, Maryland State Police will be watching for seat belts and specifically enforcing one other law.
It takes just two seconds to buckle up when going for a drive. But for whatever reason, many skip this potentially life-saving step, putting themselves at greater risk of dying in a crash.
More than 120 unbelted drivers and passengers are killed each year in Maryland, according to Maryland State Police.
Beginning Monday, 10,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide, including Maryland State Police, will scour the roads to bust some of the estimated 27.5 million unbuckled travelers.
It's known as "Click It or Ticket." You know the drill. The campaign, which runs from May 20 through June 2, aims to enforce seat belt use to keep drivers and their passengers safe.
In nearly every state and Washington, D.C., it's unlawful to ride in a vehicle without wearing a seat belt. New Hampshire is the lone state that has no seat belt law for adults.
Young adults 18-24 years old are less likely to wear a seat belt than older age groups, and men are less likely than women to buckle up, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for Americans ages 1-54, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives in 2017.
"If all passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older had worn their seat belts that same year, it's estimated an additional 2,549 lives could have been saved," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a news release.
More than 10,000 unbuckled people died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2017 nationwide, more than half of which were at night.
While state data show that 92.1 percent of people tend to wear their seat belts in Maryland, those who do not are part of a much more grim statistic.
Of the 550 people killed in crashes in Maryland in 2017 — the latest year for which data was available — a little more than 20 percent were not restrained, according to the NHTSA.
So far in 2019, Maryland State Police reports that its troopers have issued 4,611 citations and 3,604 warnings for seat belt violations as of mid May.
In 2018 as a whole, police said they issued 11,243 citations and 8,805 warnings for seat belt violations.
During the nationwide "Click It or Ticket" campaign, Maryland State Police will be on the lookout to ensure everyone is buckled in, and troopers will be enforcing another measure at the same time — the "Move Over Law."