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CHP focuses on seatbelt violations Sept. 17

Posted: September 14, 2009 5:55 p.m.
Updated: September 15, 2009 5:42 p.m.
 
SACRAMENTO -- Buckle up, or prepare to pay up if you're stopped by a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Designated by the CHP as "Vehicle Occupant Restraint Day," the statewide campaign allows officers on grant-funded overtime, to focus their attention specifically on people who fail to wear a seat belt when riding in a vehicle.

"Seat belts are your first line of defense against injuries or death," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "If you're not buckled up during a crash, you could be thrown through a window or even crushed by a vehicle."

More than 30 percent of all vehicle passengers killed statewide in 2007 and 2008 were not buckled up at the time of the collision.

In addition to the life-saving benefits, wearing a seat belt can help save money. The cost of an adult seat belt violation is $132, and up to $435 for not properly restraining a child under 16. If the parent is not in the car, the driver gets the ticket.

Last year, CHP officers throughout the state issued an average of 500 citations a day to motorists and their passengers for failure to wear their seat belt. That figure does not include the 17,076 tickets issued in 2008 for child safety seat violations.

California law requires children younger than age six or weighing less than 60 pounds to be properly secured in the back seat. Free child safety seat inspections and installation is provided at CHP offices throughout the state.

"The goal is to get motorists to buckle up, not just today, everyday," added Commissioner Farrow. "Make it a habit, anytime you and your passengers get in the car."

Officers will also be enforcing all traffic safety laws; the purpose of Vehicle Occupant Restraint Day is to raise public awareness of the law and the life-saving benefit of wearing a seat belt and using a child safety seat. Vehicle Occupant Restraint Day coincides with Child Passenger Safety Week September 12-18. Funding for the Statewide Highway Restraint Enforcement Campaign Grant is provided by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

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