Wednesday, November 19, 2003
The Steamboat Springs Police Department is cracking down on seat-belt violations in the hopes that more people will buckle up.
Through Nov. 30, the police department will increase its enforcement of seat-belt use, Sgt. Rich Brown said. The increased enforcement is part of the national Click It or Ticket campaign.
"It is an agreement made to strictly enforce seat-belt law and increase enforcement efforts," Brown said.
State law mandates that all drivers and anyone in the front seat of a motor vehicle must wear a safety belt while the motor vehicle is being operated. Failure to wear a seat belt is a secondary violation, meaning law enforcement officers cannot pull people over just for not wearing seat belts.
But a minimum fine of $18.60 can be given if a driver or front seat passenger is not wearing a seat belt when a vehicle is stopped for a primary violation.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the rate for national seat-belt use in the past year has jumped four percentage points to 79 percent. The NHTSA estimates that 1,000 lives will be saved as a result of the 4-point increase.
"It is clearly shown that (seat belts) save lives in an event of an accident," Brown said.
Seat belts prevent passengers from being thrown out of vehicles, which is the most dangerous scenario and causes the most serious injuries, Brown said.
The program was chosen for the past two weeks in November because Thanksgiving is one of the busiest and most dangerous holidays for driving
-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229
or e-mail email@example.com