Santa Clara County Drivers Don't Like Seat Belts

County has the worst compliance Rate in the State

By George Kiriyama
|  Tuesday, May 25, 2010  |  Updated 6:00 AM PDT
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The State Office of Traffic Safety says Santa Clara County has the worst compliance rate in the state.

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You don't have to look very long in Santa Clara County for drivers not wearing their seat belts. One in six, for one reason or another, does not buckle up. The top reason: "I just forgot."

"I cite four people a day for not wearing their seat belts," Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Pickett said. 

The State Office of Traffic Safety says Santa Clara County has the worst compliance rate in the state. About 84 percent wear seat belts. That's below the 95 percent rate statewide. Drivers in adjacent counties are clicking it at a higher rate. In Alameda County, 96 percent buckle up and San Mateo drivers are clicking it  97 percent of the time.

Santa Clara County says 84 percent is unacceptable.

"My goal would be 100 percent," Pickett said. "If everyone is wearing their seat belt, everybody is a lot safer."

The best way to get their attention? Hit their wallets. And that's exactly what the state is doing. The fine for a first offense is at least $142. And if you have children who don't buckle up, be prepared to fork over $445 per child under 16 years old for a first offense. If you don't learn your lesson, the second time you will owe more than a $1,000 per child.

Law enforcement agencies statewide are conducting their "Click It or Ticket" seat belt campaigns through June 6.  

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