Enumclaw to participate in seatbelt enforcement program

The Enumclaw Police Department will be participating in the 2006 “Click it or Ticket” campaign sponsored by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Extra officers will be on duty May 15 through June 3 to enforce the state seatbelt laws and educate the motoring public about seatbelt usage.

The goal of the program is to save lives and prevent serious injuries on Washington's roadways.

An average of 500 vehicle occupants are killed in Washington each year. State data shows that 60 percent of these people were not wearing seat belts, while nearly 85 percent of those who were unhurt in the same crashes were wearing seat belts. Research shows that a seat belt increases a person's chance of surviving a collision by up to 70 percent.

Observational surveys conducted throughout Washington show the state has an overall seatbelt useage rate of 95 percent. The following are identified problem areas:

€ Pick-up truck drivers and their occupants have been identified as a segment of the population less likely to buckle up;

€ Part-time users who are sporadic in their seat belt use and who authorities have no profile for;

€ There is low seat belt usage in rural areas;

€ The Hispanic and Native American populations consistently show use rates lower than the state average.

Statistics show:

€ 46 percent of traffic fatalities are persons who are not belted in. So the 5 percent of the motoring population that do not wear seatbelts are responsible for almost half of the deaths.

€ 51 percent of fatal collisions occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. but only 15 percent of the total miles driven per day are between those hours.

€ A recent survey in Enumclaw (at the intersection of Porter Street and Griffin Avenue) revealed of 100 vehicles, only 80 percent of the occupants were wearing seatbelts.

Washington's seat belt law was passed in 1986 as a secondary enforcement law which covered all vehicle occupants in all seating positions. The Washington Legislature passed an upgrade to this law changing it to primary enforcement during the 2002 legislative session. This change was effective June 13, 2002.

A seat belt ticket costs $101 and a driver can be ticketed for every unbuckled passenger in the car younger than 16. Passengers 16 and older can be given their own seat belt ticket.

Inquiries about the state's seat belt law can be made by calling the Enumclaw Police Department at 360-825-3505.

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