Click It or Ticket campaign changes lives

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ATOKA, OK-- From 2004 to 2008 seat belts saved the lives of more than 75,000 people, according to the national highway traffic safety administration.

August 3rd, 2010 changed Courtney Connel's life forever.

"I had a wreck and it killed my Grandma and they gave me a 3% chance of living. And they said without my seat belt, I would have instantly been killed. So, we are making sure that people know that seat belt's really are useful and they can save lives," said Connel.

Connel has joined forces with the Southeastern Oklahoma Traffic Safety Coalition helping police with the Click it or Ticket campaign. 10 different police departments set up a driver checkpoint In Atoka, on East Highway 3, Monday morning.

"We're having a safety check point to make sure everyone has their seat belt on, making sure everybody has their licence and registration, make sure everybody is safe. It's a message that has to be put out there and it's a message that's going to be enforced. You know, it's a state law," explained, Chief Don Hyde, Calera Police.

For four years Hyde has been leading the coalition to help make southeastern Oklahoma roads safer to drive.

"This is not about tickets, that is not the statement we are trying to make at all," said Hyde.

The fine for not wearing a safety belt is $20 and while Hyde said several drivers were ticketed Monday, most Oklahomans remember to buckle up.

The Oklahoma Highway Safety office said 85.9% of Oklahoma drivers wore their seatbelts in 2010. That's even higher than the national rate of 85%.

"But our seat belt usage rate is increasing and that's a prideful thing for us," Hyde said.

Connel said she hopes sharing her story will get other people to wear seatbelts, because if her Grandma had been, she might be here today.

"It kind of hits home having everybody needing to know that seatbelts do save lives, because it has saved mine," Connel said.

The police department ticketed around two dozen drivers at the check point.

The National 2012 Click It or Ticket campaign kicks off next week. Oklahoma's goal is to increase the seat belt use to 90%.