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Police To Focus On Seat Belt Enforcement
POSTED: November 22, 2009

The New York State Police and other police agencies in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties will be conducting a zero-tolerance seat belt enforcement blitz throughout the week of Thanksgiving, as part of the ongoing Buckle Up New York-Click It or Ticket campaign.

Major Christopher L. Cummings, Troop A. Commander, said the goal is to get more drivers and passengers to buckle up every time they are in a vehicle and ultimately save lives.

"Thanksgiving travel can be dangerous and seat belts are the best defense against crash-related injuries and fatalities," he said. "I'm urging everyone to avoid alcohol if driving, make sure everyone is buckled up every time and to exercise caution driving on our state's roadways this holiday period."

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend traditionally kicks off the winter travel season in New York and is one of the most heavily traveled times of the year. According to Major Cummings, across the U.S. during the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday period, 389 passenger-vehicle occupants died in crashes, including 231 during night time hours. Almost half of those that died were not wearing seatbelts.

"People die needlessly in traffic crashes every year, and state troopers, sheriff's deputies and local officers will be working together to help prevent these unnecessary tragedies," he said.

Regular seatbelt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 25,000 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2008 across the nation, and just over half were not wearing seatbelts. Major Cummings stressed that everyone riding inside a motor vehicle, regardless of age, should be properly restrained.

"Kids and young adults learn best by example, and parents must set that example," he said. "Infants and toddlers are even more vulnerable, because they can't buckle themselves in. They must rely on adults to do it for them, and police officers across New York State will be on the lookout for drivers who neglect to do so."

According to Major Cummings, state troopers will be conducting numerous safety checkpoints and assigning additional dedicated patrols during the Buckle Up New York enforcement sweep.