Dover, DE – Delaware law enforcement officers issued 133 citations for seat belt violations during the first wave of seat belt enforcement for 2012. Coordinated by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, the two week long safety campaign (Jan 22-Feb. 5) focused on increasing seat belt use statewide with roving and stationary traffic safety patrols in towns and cities where data shows seat belt use is lacking.
Safety officials say that seat belt enforcement is necessary because Delaware has seen an increase in unbelted occupant fatalities from 34% in 2010 to 50% in 2011. Since January 1st of this year 2 of the 4 drivers and passengers killed in motor vehicle crashes was not wearing a seat belt.
In addition to the 133 seat belt citations, officers also issued 5 child restraint citations, issued 158 speeding citations & 19 cell phone citations, arrested 9 individuals for DUI, apprehended 10 wanted individuals, made 8 drug arrests, seized 2 weapons, and issued 235 citations for other traffic violations.
“We will continue seat belt enforcement year round including participation in the national Click It or Ticket campaign in May,” said Jana Simpler, Director of the Office of Highway Safety, “and follow that up with three more waves of seat belt enforcement in June, July & August.”
Delaware’s seat belt law requires all vehicle occupants, even back seat passengers, to be “properly” buckled up. “Properly” means that both lap and shoulder belts must be worn, and that the shoulder belt must be worn across the chest. The law allows officers to pull over a driver if he sees any person in the vehicle not wearing a safety belt. The ticket, which goes to the driver no matter who is unbuckled in the vehicle, totals $83.50 with all administrative fees.
Delaware’s child restraint law says that the driver is responsible for making sure all children in the vehicle are properly buckled up. All children under the age of 8 years or 65lbs must be in the appropriate child restraint seat (an infant, toddler or booster seat). Children who are 8 or at least 65lbs in weight, whichever comes first must be restrained in a seat belt. Children under the age of 12 years old must ride in the back seat when passenger air bags are present up front. Child restraint citations also total $83.50 with all administrative fees.