NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- For the next two weeks, North Carolina Highway Patrol will be cracking down on drivers and passengers who don't wear their seatbelts. Highway Patrol says New Hanover County has one of the lowest seatbelt rates in the state and officials are hoping to change that with operation buckle up. Troopers say they will have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to buckling up. Highway Patrol officers will be giving out tickets to people who are not wearing their seatbelts. Operation Buckle Up is part of a statewide program to try and raise the seatbelt rate. Right now, about 88 percent of drivers in the state are buckling up. Officials are hoping to increase that number to 90 percent. Some new seatbelt laws that passed: you can now be given a ticket if someone in the backseat is not wearing a seatbelt. Also, allowing a child under 16 to ride without a seatbelt on is a bigger offense and can add two points onto your license and increase your insurance rates. We spoke with a sergeant in the Wilmington highway patrol who says that people in New Hanover County especially should want to wear their seatbelts because of the high number of accidents our county has. We'll hear from him coming up at six, we'll also hear from a woman who learned her lesson on wearing a seatbelt the hard way.
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