|May 16, 2013
Tribal patrols ramp up for buckle up campaign
PABLO — Tribal police officers are asking motorists to buckle up during increased patrols for seat belt enforcement. The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribal Police are among hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country who are increasing safety patrols during the annual Memorial Day Click It or Ticket mobilization. The heightened enforcement period runs from May 20 through June 2.
Police officers are taking extra shifts in the hope of saving lives by increasing the use of safety belts among Tribal members.
“Of the 33 vehicle occupants who have died in crashes on the Flathead Reservation between 2007 and 2011, 23 of them were not wearing seat belts. If we can get more people to buckle up every time they are in a moving vehicle, on every road they travel, we know for a fact it will save lives,” said Police Chief Craige Couture.
“We especially want to convince young people and occupants of pickups and SUVs. They are more likely to be involved in rollover crashes,” said Couture. Motorists are 75 percent more likely to survive a rollover crash if they are buckled up, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. Most vehicle fatalities in Montana occur in a rollover.
“Our officers enforce seat belt laws throughout the year as well as during periods of extra patrols. To avoid a fine, all drivers should see that every one in their vehicle uses their safety belt,” said Chief Couture.
Among Montana law enforcement agencies participating in the seat belt mobilization are the Montana Highway Patrol, Lake County, Flathead County, Missoula County, the Ronan Police Department and others.
Publicity support for traffic safety efforts of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribal Police is provided by the Safe On All Roads program of the Montana Department of Transportation in partnership with Tribal Health. Funding for additional patrols is provided by the Montana Department of Transportation.