Longmeadow police participating in “Click it or Ticket” campaign

Massachusetts has lower rate of seat belt usage than national average

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Starting Monday, Longmeadow Police will team up with 200 other Massachusetts police departments for a month long “Click It or Ticket” seatbelt initiative.

During that time, there will be increased traffic enforcement around the town. Massachusetts only has a secondary seat belt law, meaning that police cannot pull you over for not wearing your seat belt. They can fine you for not wearing your seat belt, however, if you are pulled over for another reason, such as speeding or an equipment violation.

Massachusetts has some of the lowest rates of seatbelt use in the nation- only 78% as opposed to the nationwide average of 90%.

Longmeadow police traffic supervisor Sgt Carl Mazzaferro can’t explain why drivers would take such risks.

“Personal preference, you know the old saying ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink,’ you can educate them, you can give them all the stats, it still comes down to personal preference whether they like to wear the seat belt or not,” Mazzaferro said.

Drivers 22News spoke with said they’re stunned so many others risk their lives by not wearing a seat belt.

“I think they’re crazy, they must have a death wish, it’s really frightening they would not wear their seat belts in this day and age,” Sue Cresci of Longmeadow said.

“We always wear them, always did, I’d feel like I’d fall out of the seat if I didn’t have a seat belt, it’s like a comfort to have it,” Margot Woodworth of Longmeadow said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, about 41 crash deaths could have been prevented in Massachusetts had those people been wearing seat belts.