Published in the May 13, 2016 edition

MELROSE – Chief Michael L. Lyle announces that the Melrose Police Department will take part in the national Click It or Ticket campaign to promote seat belt use through increased traffic enforcement.

The initiative is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and runs from May 9-23.

“As officers, it’s our job to help keep our community safe,” Chief Lyle said. “Heading into the summer months, the roads will be busier than normal – there is no excuse not to wear a seat belt. We are prepared to stop and ticket any drivers who are not wearing their seat belts, including drivers who have not properly buckled up their children.”

According to the NHTSA, the national seat belt usage rate is currently 88.5 percent, with Massachusetts falling behind at 74 percent — a 3 percent drop in use from 2014 to 2015. Additionally, in 2014, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in crashes across the nation were not buckled.

“While these may just sound like statistics, local police know from personal experience that those numbers represent mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends in Melrose,” Jeff Larason, director of the Highway Safety Division, said in a statement. “If we increase our seat belt usage rate, we save lives and that’s why the police are out enforcing this important law.”

Melrose will join more than 200 municipal police departments and the Massachusetts State Police, in partnership with the Highway Safety Division of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, that are partaking in the campaign.

Anyone who has questions or concerns about this campaign or how to properly buckle a child, should contact the Melrose Police Department at 781-665-1212.