WORCESTER – The Worcester Police Department [WPD] will increase seat belt enforcement patrols over the next few weeks thanks to a grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS).
From now until June 2, as part of the national Click It or Ticket campaign, the WPD will join the Massachusetts State Police and 140 other local departments in an effort to reduce motor vehicle deaths and injuries by encouraging drivers to wear their seat belts.
“Compliance will be our main measure of success,” said Chief Steven M. Sargent. “We hope that this campaign will help people to break bad habits and buckle up every time they enter a vehicle. This is part of our ongoing efforts to make our roadways safer.”
According to a Commonwealth of Massachusetts annual seat belt observation study, the seat belt use in the state rose significantly to 81.6 percent, but is still behind the national average of 89.7 percent.
Seat belts saved an estimated 61 lives in Massachusetts in 2017, and an additional 45 deaths could have been prevented if seat belt usage was at 100 percent.
“The more people who buckle up, the fewer injuries and fatalities on our roads,” said Jeff Larason, Director of the Highway Safety Division, Office of Grants and Research, EOPSS. “Regardless of how short your trip is, or how good a driver you are, seat belts are critical to your survival if you’re ever in a crash.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 62 percent of the 207 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in Massachusetts in 2017 were unrestrained.
The current Massachusetts Seat Belt Law requires all motor vehicle occupants to be properly restrained by seat belts when riding in private or commercial vehicles, including vans and trucks. Fines begin at $25 per violation. The Massachusetts Enhanced Child Passenger Safety Law requires children riding as passengers in motor vehicles to be in a federally-approved child passenger restraint that is properly fastened and secured until they are 8 years old or over 57 inches tall. Children older than 8 years or taller than 57 inches must wear seat belts.
Massachusetts has more than 230 inspection sites where parents and caregivers can have their child’s car seat checked for free to ensure it is properly installed. Visit mass.gov/carseats for a map and listing of all inspection sites.
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