Police crack down on seat belt violators

LOS ANGELES, Calif. The fines for seat belt violations increased on January 1. Adults who don't buckle up will face fines of up to $132. If there's a child under the age of 16 who is not buckled safely in the car, the fine increases to $435.

Law enforcement will be keeping an eye out for violators and will issue tickets, not warnings. The stepped up enforcement will last through the end of May.

California law requires every passenger in the car, including the driver, to wear a seat belt at all times. Experts estimate 95.7 percent of Californians do regularly wear seat belts. That's much higher than the national average of 83 percent.

"However, that still leaves more than a million Californians vulnerable in the event of a crash, when all it takes is two seconds to buckle up," says Christopher J. Murphy, director of California's Office of Traffic Safety.

Children age 12 and under are required to be properly restrained in the back seat. Children under age 6 or 60 pounds must be in proper child safety or booster seats.

There are more than 600 "/*Click It or Ticket*/" signs throughout California. The signs are being updated with the increased fines. The "Click It or Ticket" campaign is funded in part by $3 million in traffic safety grants awarded by the /*California Office of Traffic Safety*/ through the /*National Highway Traffic Safety Administration*/.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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