By Herald Staff
The Dubois County Sheriff’s Office issued 12 seat belt citations during its recent Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign, which coincided with Memorial Day and lasted for three weeks.
According to the department, the high-visibility patrols were conducted to encourage drivers and passengers to buckle up in order to prevent injuries and save lives.
During the enforcement campaign, the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office worked a total of 26 hours. In addition to seat belt violations, 43 warnings and five arrests were made during the campaign.
“We’re making progress, but unrestrained driving continues to be a concern,” said Chief Deputy Chris Faulkenberg. “Wearing a seat belt needs to be a habit. It takes very little effort and is the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road. Our focus continues to be on saving lives, not writing tickets.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2020, the national seat belt use rate was 90.3%, down slightly from the previous year at 90.7%. Historically, seat belt use in Indiana has been above the national average, last recorded at 94.9% in 2019.
Despite this, data from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute shows that more than half of the people who died in passenger vehicle crashes last year in Indiana were unrestrained. Male drivers under the age 34 were the most likely out of any age group to be found not wearing a seat belt at the time of a crash.
“Buckling up matters,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI executive director. “From 2015 to 2019, seat belts have saved more than 69,000 lives in the U.S. I commend our law enforcement partners for bringing attention to this simple, life-saving action.”
In total, more than 200 Indiana police agencies participated in this year’s Click It or Ticket operation, which was funded by NHTSA through ICJI. Although the zero-tolerance campaign is over, the department will continue to educate motorists about the importance of buckling up and the law.
In Indiana, drivers and passengers can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for each unbuckled passenger under the age of 16. Additionally, children under 8 must be properly restrained in a federally approved child or booster seat.
“Wearing a seat belt is especially important if you’re a parent or caregiver,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI traffic safety director. “Research shows that children whose parents buckle up are much more likely to buckle up themselves. We need everyone to set a good example and model safe driving behavior for our youth.”
To learn more about the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office, visit: duboiscountysd.com.