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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies across the state are targeting speeders and aggressive drivers this holiday. Officers are also focusing on increasing seat belt use during the busy holiday weekend and beyond.

The holiday travel season has begun. Monday, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program kicked off its Thanksgiving “Click it or Ticket” campaign.

“It is very important that folks buckle up,” GHSP’s Don Nail said. “If they are involved in a crash, then it lessens the injuries that they will sustain if they are buckled.”

Brunswick, Columbus and New Hanover counties have traffic units in place, focused on increasing seat belt use.

Highway Patrol says speed and aggressive drivers are the leading cause of traffic deaths in our state. New Hanover County roads annually rank among the state’s most dangerous.

“For Wilmington, unfortunately, we are one of the highest cities for traffic collisions and some other issues, and that’s the purpose of these campaigns,” New Hanover County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer said.

Columbus County is just one of the counties seeing results from strong seat belt enforcement efforts.

“Sheriff (Chris) Batten saw a need to increase the seat belt usage, because it was so low in the past few years,” Capt. Bobby Worley said.

Worley says the county’s seat belt usage last year was at 78 percent. He says with the help of two officers funded from a state grant, now 90 percent of drivers in the county are buckling up.

The Highway Patrol says last year 15 motorists were killed and 391 were injured on North Carolina highways during the holiday season.

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