The 2016 Massachusetts Safety Belt Usage Observation Study conducted by the University of Massachusetts Traffic Safety Research Program (UMassSafe) for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division says while seat belt use is rising in Massachusetts, it could be better.

Greater Boston's Tina Martin took a ride with a Framingham police officer during the department's recent "Click It or Ticket" campaign. Officer Ken Blass does traffic enforcement. During the morning, he pulls people over for offenses like distracted driving. Once he pulls them over, he says he then looks for seat belt safety.

“We aren’t able to pull over a violator for not wearing their seat belt as a primary offense," he said. "However, any other offense, we would stop them.”

The "Click It or Ticket” campaign is paid for by the state and puts extra police on the road. Officer Blass says he hears all kinds of reasons for why people aren’t buckled up.

“A lot of people would say 'I thought I had it on' or 'I just took it off'.”

One of Officer Blass’ first stops admitted she wasn’t wearing her seat belt. She didn’t give her name, but gave an honest answer.

“It’s not a good reason, but I’m taking my dog to the vet and I was reaching over to grab something and I unbuckled it and never put it back on.”

This driver is not alone. A recent study done by UMassSafe indicates that Massachusetts ranked 45th in the country for seat belt use, but the study says seat belt use in the state is at about 80 percent. That seems like a high number, but many other states ranked higher.

Dr. Stephanie Nitzschke, a trauma surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says because of campaigns like "Click It or Ticket," people are wearing seat belts.

“Our hospital numbers show that about 60 percent of our patients are restrained drivers and wearing their seat belts."

Of the other 40 percent, Nitzschke says it’s clear when they come into the emergency room that they have not worn a seat belt.

“They’ve clearly been thrown out of the vehicle or they’ve been tossed around inside the vehicle," she said. "You can see they have lots of long bone fractures, rib fractures.”

Dr. Nitzschke say she sees less injuries with people wearing seat belts and a shorter recovery time.

If that’s not enough incentive to buckle up, drivers get a $35 ticket on top of the initial offense. In the case of the woman who didn’t have her seat belt on, Officer Blass let her off with a warning. But she’s still not convinced. 

“To be honest, its very uncomfortable, it’s just that simple," she said. 

Police say something as simple as a click of a belt can save your life.

State Rep. Jeffrey Roy of Franklin introduced a bill this session to increase the seat belt fine from $35 to $50. As with every bill, this will be heard at a public hearing and lawmakers will consider all written and oral testimony.