Police plan Memorial Day holiday patrols

From Local Sources

Local law enforcement agencies are planning extra patrols in coming days to boost seat belt use during the Memorial Day holiday period.

The Jasper Police Department, Dubois County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police and Huntingburg Police Department are among Hoosier law enforcement agencies joining what is a national mobilization May 20 through June 2, meaning it will continue through the Memorial Day holiday and the start of the summer travel season.

During the period of high-visibility patrols, officers will be watching for unrestrained passengers in cars and trucks, both children and adults, in front and back seats, both day and night, police say.

“Why are police warning everyone before the seat belt crackdown begins?” said Jasper Police Department Assistant Chief Aaron Persohn. “Because we respond to traffic crashes and we see the preventable deaths and painful injuries from motorists not buckling up.”

Indiana law requires the driver and all passengers to buckle up. Children under age 8 must be properly restrained in child car seats or booster seats.

The share of Hoosiers not buckling up has dropped to 6.6%, below the national average of 10.4%. But new data from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and the Indiana University Public Policy Institute show that unrestrained motorists still make up 53% of traffic deaths.

The data show unrestrained motorists are more likely to die in crashes by 10 times in cars and SUVs, 14 times in pickup trucks and 15 times in vans.

“Has this message ‘clicked’ for you?” asked Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chris Faulkenberg in announcing his agency’s patrols. “If you have a friend or a family member who does not buckle up, speak up! Ask them to change their habits.”

During a crash, police say, unrestrained passengers become projectiles that can injure or kill others in the car.

Traffic crashes are the leading killer of children ages 1 to 13, and adults set the example, Faulkenberg and Persohn said. Parents and caregivers who do not buckle up are more likely to have kids who are improperly restrained. That means one ticket for the driver and one for each unrestrained child, according to police.

Click It or Ticket is an annual enforcement effort supported by federal funding allocated to the participating departments from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institutes’s traffic safety division. Indiana has participated for more than 20 years.

Seat belt tips from the Click It or Ticket agencies advise:

Secure lap belts across your hips and pelvis, below your stomach.

Place a shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and rib cage, away from your neck.

Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.

If your seat belt doesn’t fit you or you have an older car with lap belts only, ask your dealer or vehicle manufacturer about seat belt adjustments, extenders or retrofits.

Speak up when friends or family members do not buckle up. One life lost is too many, so don’t leave any of your loved ones behind.

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