SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department is kicking-off the Click-It or Ticket Campaign in launch of Memorial Day weekend. The goal of the campaign is to remind motorists of buckling up behind the wheel.

The SMPD will deploy additional officers starting Monday, May 21 thru Sunday, June 3 on special traffic patrols to stop and ticket both drivers and passengers for failing to use the vehicle’s safety belt restraints. Drivers who fail to secure children in the proper child restraint seats.

“If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits,” said Chief Cynthia Renaud. “Help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone needs to remember to buckle up—every trip, every time.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates close to 48 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained. Between 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., the number rises to 56 percent of those killed resulting in a focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign to nighttime enforcement. Police, Sheriff and the CHP will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In the state of California, the lowest penalty for a seat belt violation is $162.

“This Memorial Day period and, in fact, every day, we want everyone in every vehicle to remember that buckling up could be their greatest defense in a crash,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “Putting on a seat belt is one of the quickest, simplest and most effective ways to ensure you and your loved ones remain safe and sound on the road.”

The campaign is funded from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers are encouraged to report drunk drivers by calling 911.