Halle Sell, a third grader at Sterling Morton Elementary School, won Mentor Police's annual seatbelt safety poster contest Saturday during Law Day at Great Lakes Mall.
The poster contest is part of local police's efforts to promote the returning Click It Or Ticket program in which officers will crack down on drivers and passengers who do not wear their seat belt.
Starting May 21, the Lake County Safe Communities Coalition will join with other state and local law enforcement officers to help save more lives by strongly enforcing seat belt laws around the clock.
Seat belt use saves thousands of lives across America each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics said that in 2010, seat belts saved about 12,546 lives nationwide.
However, too many motorists got a tough reminder in 2010. According to NHTSA, 51 percent of the 22,187 passengers killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts at the time of their crashes.
In Ohio, that number was even higher at 61 percent.
Younger motorists and men are particularly at risk. NHTSA data showed that of the 18- to 34-year-olds who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, 62 percent were not buckled up at the time of the crash in 2010 – the highest percentage of any age group.
Furthermore, that number jumps to 66 percent when just men in this age group
In Lake County, the local Click It or Ticket Campaign kicked off Saturday during Law Day at the Great Lakes Mall.
During Law Day, residents had the opportunity to meet with and learn about several area law-enforcement agencies.