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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220638 Find in a Library
Title: One Seat Belt at a Time: Individual Officers Can Make a Difference Saving Lives
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:34  Issue:10  Dated:October 2007  Pages:86,88,90,93
Author(s): Rebecca Kanable
Date Published: October 2007
Page Count: 6
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explains how law enforcement agencies can reduce deaths and the severity of injuries from traffic crashes by prioritizing seat belt education and enforcement.
Abstract: Seat belts are effective in preventing deaths and serious injuries in car crashes because they keep drivers and passengers from being ejected with great force from their vehicles during a crash. Studies show that being held inside the vehicle by a seat belt during a crash is much safer than being ejected. Seat belts also maximize the protective benefits of other safety systems in the vehicle. A seat belt holds inhabitants of the vehicle in the correct position for protection from deployed air bags. Another benefit of seat belts is to keep drivers behind the wheel in order to be able to maneuver the vehicle after impact so as to avoid additional collisions with other vehicles and objects. The highest seat-belt use to date (96.3 percent) was achieved by Washington State, according to a survey conducted in June 2006 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition to the State's primary enforcement seat-belt law, this was achieved by ticketing motorists for not wearing seat belts, educating motorists about the effectiveness of seat belts in preventing deaths and serious injuries in traffic crashes, aggressive media campaigns in combination with police patrols, and road signs throughout the State reminding motorists to buckle up or receive a $124 fine. Because motorists driving at night are more likely not to buckle up, the Washington State Patrol, along with other agencies, conceived a tactic for spotting unbelted night drivers. An "observing" officer is positioned where lighting is good. When this officer spots an unbuckled motorist, he/she radios another officer to make the stop.
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Seatbelt use; Traffic accidents; Traffic law enforcement; Traffic offenses; Washington
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