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Click It or Ticket time is here

The St. Croix County Sheriff's Department is stepping up traffic enforcement efforts heading into the Memorial Day holiday weekend, zeroing in on motorists without seatbelts clicked.

The annual Click It or Ticket campaign functions under a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation-Bureau of Transportation Safety, said Patrol Captain Scott Knudson.

"Officers will be patrolling in greater numbers and for longer hours, including at night when safety belt use declines," Knudson said. "Our objective is not to write more tickets, but to save lives and injuries through voluntary compliance with the mandatory safety belt law."

Consistent safety belt use is the single most effective protection. Seat belt use saved 237 lives in Wisconsin in 2007. If everyone had used one, an additional 137 lives could have been saved, said the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Knudson said no excuses will be accepted during the campaign. "You won't get a warning; if you are stopped and are not buckled, it's a ticket."

"We have had a rough couple of weekends in St. Croix County," Knudson said, "with three fatalities over the weekend of May 1-3, for a total of six this year. Most, if not all of the fatalities, could have been prevented by not drinking and driving, and wearing seatbelts."

Knudson said the department stepped up patrol in the area of Hwy. 12 and County UU over the weekend of April 17-18. "This was the sight of two horrible crashes that caused serious injury and changed several families' lives forever," he said. "In a four-mile radius, over that weekend, we removed six impaired motorists."

"During Memorial Weekend, we plan on working several areas that show a pattern that concerns us. We hope to have a safe Memorial Weekend, and we encourage people to drink responsibly, use designated drivers and wear seatbelts."