WAILUKU - Police officers throughout Maui County are stepping up seat belt enforcement for two weeks through June 3 as part of the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign.
The increased enforcement began Monday, with both traffic and patrol officers issuing citations for violations of seat belt and child passenger restraint laws.
State law requires all front seat occupants and back seat passengers ages 17 and under to use seat belts. Children under age 4 are required to be secured in a child safety seat, and children between ages 4 and 8 must ride in either child safety or booster seats.
A seat belt citation carries a $92 fine. Drivers who violate child passenger restraint law are required to attend a four-hour class and may be fined between $100 and $500, depending on any prior offenses.
Statewide last summer, seat belt use was measured at 96 percent. The compliance rate in Maui County was 95.06 percent.
Of the 20 people killed in traffic deaths between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. last year in Hawaii, nine or 45 percent weren't using seat belts, according to the state Department of Transportation.
"Too many drivers and passengers on the road at night are not wearing their seat belts, and it all too often ends in tragedy," said Caroline Sluyter, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.
She said some people mistakenly believe that officers enforce seat belt violations only during the campaign.
The state last week launched a "Day & Night, Year-Round" Click It or Ticket campaign, in hopes that more people will buckle up, Sluyter said.
"Our goal is to save lives," she said.