Char-Koosta News

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Click It – Don’t Risk It campaign boosts seat belt and child safety seat use

The Lake County Buckle Up Coalition and all local law enforcement agencies are joining the 2013 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization to encourage Montanan’s to buckle up. Additional patrols will be on the road starting May 20 through June 2.

“Too many drivers and passengers on the road are not wearing their seat belts and it often ends in tragedy,” said Dan Yonkin, Under Sherriff for the Polson Police Department. “Our goal is to save lives, so the Polson Police Department will be putting an extra emphasis on enforcing Montana’s seat belt and child safety seat laws.”

Preliminary numbers show 78 percent of those who died in crashes on Montana roads so far this year were not wearing seat belts – an increase of 32 percent from the same time period last year. Seat belt use saves thousands of lives across America each year and the Lake County Buckle Up Coalition is helping to spread the word

While Montana’s Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from May 20 through June 2, motorists should know that officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round. Montana has a primary law for children through age 6 and weighing less than 60 pounds, but motorists need to ensure all children are properly buckled and sitting in the backseat until they are 13 years old. Montana’s original seat belt law, with secondary enforcement, now applies to those over six, but is somewhat unique in that it applies to all seating positions within the vehicle. Montana is one of only fourteen states where all seating positions are covered by this safety law. States that have primary enforcement laws will usually raise seat belt usage from 8 to 12 percentage points.

“We’d rather everyone choose to buckle up – not just to avoid the ticket, but to be safe and avoid serious injury or death,” said Mr. Yonkin. “Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone not buckled up….no warnings and no excuses – don’t risk it!”

For more information about the importance of child safety seats and seat belt use, please visit http://buckleup.mt.gov/ and http://plan2live.mt.gov .

Extra patrols are funded by the Montana Department of Transportation through the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, using funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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