Seat Belt Violators In The Hot Seat

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If you get pulled over for any reason this weekend, and are not wearing your seat belt, be prepared for a citation.

This week, Payson police are joining forces with law officers around the country in Operation ABC Mobilization a campaign to crack down on absent-minded drivers who forget to strap themselves and their offspring into their seat belts.

Since Operation ABC Mobilization began:

Child fatalities have dropped 17 percent;

Child restraint use for infants less than 1 year of age has gone from 85 percent to 97 percent and restraint among toddlers, ages 1 to 4 has jumped from 60 to 91 percent;

Adult seat belt use rose from 62 percent to 71 percent the highest use rate ever with 20 million more Americans buckling up.

"This is similar to buckle up campaigns we've done in the past," Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said.

"While officers are doing their routine patrols, they pay extraordinary attention to the fact that people are wearing seat belts. And, they also keep an eye out for proper use of seat belts."

This week, drivers also can get in the act by reporting deadbeat drivers.

"We're practicing zero-tolerance this week," Engler said. "If people call us and we find (the violators), we'll fine them, as well."

For adults stopped for not wearing their seat belts, the fine is $18. For every unrestrained child in the vehicle, the fine is $94.

"We just want to make sure everybody is safe on our streets," Engler said.

For more information about Operation ABC Mobilization, or to report an unrestrained driver, call the Payson Police Department at 474-5177.

Child passenger safety fact sheet

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children of all races, ages 6 to 14. In 1999, motor vehicle crashes took the lives of 2,008 child passengers from birth to 15, and injured nearly 320,000 more.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics through the age of 24. They are the leading cause of death for African-American children through age 14, and the second leading cause of death, surpassed only by homicide, for ages 15 to 24.

In 1999, an average of seven children ages 14 and under died and another 872 were injured daily in motor vehicle-related crashes.

In 1999, nearly six out of 10 children who died in crashes were unbelted. Nearly half of those children would be alive today, if only they had been properly restrained.

Source: National Safety Council

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