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Summertime in Massachusetts means more drivers behind the wheel headed to beaches for long weekends and to fun outdoor destinations. Our message for Massachusetts motorists is: Buckle up every time you get in the car. Seat belts can make the difference between life and death and are the best defense in a crash — so you and your loved ones can enjoy this summer and many more to come.

Historically in Massachusetts, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, far too many of our family members, friends and neighbors are unable to enjoy the pleasures of summer because they were not wearing a seat belt and were injured in motor- vehicle crashes. It is the mission of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to ensure that people are safer on our roadways and more of them make it to the pool rather than into a hospital bed. That is why every year, EOPSS funds “Click It or Ticket.”

During this spring’s “Click It or Ticket” mobilization, which runs from May 23 through June 5, Massachusetts state police and more than 190 local police departments will be out in force promoting and enforcing seat-belt use. As part of the campaign, funded by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the state and local police will roll out thousands of extra patrol hours across the state. If pulled over, everyone in the car found not wearing a seat belt will be ticketed.

Seat belts can prevent traffic deaths. Statistics show that when worn correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.

Summer weather in Massachusetts can be a long time coming, so make the most of it. The simplest way to do that is to use your seat belt. Whether you are driving alone, with friends, or with your family and children, you must buckle up. It’s the law. And it’s the smart thing to do.

SHEILA BURGESS

Highway safety director of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security