Thursday, March 26, 2009

CHP Issues Statewide Seat Belt Alert

To underscore the message that seat belts save lives,California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers statewide plan a one-daycampaign to focus their attention on people who do not buckle up whenriding in a vehicle. March 31, 2009, has been designated by the CHP asa “Vehicle Occupant Restraint Day.”

“The goal of this campaign is to stress that seat belts savelives,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “More than 30 percentof all vehicle passengers killed statewide in 2007 and 2008 were notbuckled up at the time of the collision. We hope people will learn fromit and take the extra seconds to put on their seat belt or properlyrestrain their child. There's no do over for someone killed because theyfailed to buckle up.”

CHP officers on grant-funded overtime, provided by the Office ofTraffic Safety (OTS), will take to the road specifically looking forviolations of seat belt and child safety restraint laws.

According to OTS, seat belt usage by California motorists is at arecord high 95.7 percent. One of the CHP’s primary goals is to raisethat number even higher, an effort that will require the public’scooperation.

In 2008, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) issued 204,187 citationsto drivers and passengers who failed to buckle up. That figure does notinclude the 17,076 tickets issued for child safety seat violations. California law requires children younger than age 6 or weighing lessthan 60 pounds to be properly secured in the back seat. Free childsafety seat inspections and installation is provided at CHP officesthroughout the state.

“We all need to have reminders,” said Commissioner Farrow. “Byhaving the black-and-whites out on the road, we want to educate thepublic to remind them to wear their seat belts. We all get a littlecareless sometimes, but in this case, carelessness can be deadly.”

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