By Stacy Kess
Law enforcement will make an extra effort to get motorists to buckle up through Memorial Day weekend.
In Delaware and beyond, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will be part of a six-State Trooper Project enforcement effort from Monday through May 26.
“Only 50 percent of those killed on Delaware County’s roadways over the last five years were belted,” said Lt. Kevin Knapp, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Delaware Post. “Seat belts do not stop crashes, but they do save lives. The Delaware Post of the State Patrol is urging you to click it to live.”
Seat belt laws are enforced by all areas of law enforcement, not just the OSHP. In Ohio, more than 900 law enforcement partners will “aggressively” enforce the law during the state’s Click It or Ticket mobilization, which runs from Monday through June 1.
“Not wearing a safety belt could result in life-altering consequences that impact individuals, families, first responders, and the community as a whole,” said Delaware Police Capt. Adam Moore.
Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed 59 percent of those killed in Ohio motor vehicle accidents in 2013 were not wearing a safety restraint and 10,335 vehicle occupants who died in 2012 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.
“Although wearing a seat belt won’t prevent a crash, it could save your life,” Moore said. “Law enforcement remains committed to the safety of our roadways and the work of preventing tragedies through education and enforcement.”
In 2013, 500 Ohio law enforcement agencies around Ohio worked 148,958 hours during the Click-It or Ticket safety belt enforcement mobilization from May 20 to June 2. During that initiative, 15,992 motorists were cited for not wearing a safety belt and an 530 were cited for child restraint violations. In addition, officers arrested 2,180 impaired drivers and conducted 1,455 felony arrests.
In Ohio, drivers and front-seat passengers must wear a seat belt. For a seat belt violation, drivers can face a $30 fine and passengers can face a $20 fine.
The Indiana State Police, Kentucky State Police, Michigan State Police, Pennsylvania State Police and the West Virginia State Police will participate in the 6-State Trooper Project.
“Too many drivers and passengers are not wearing their safety belts, and it all too often ends in tragedy,” said Col. Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent. “It doesn’t matter which state you’re driving in – I want you to get home safely.”
Reporter Stacy Kess can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @StacyMKess.