HARRISBURG – Seatbelt enforcement will be stretching border-to-border across Pennsylvania and its neighboring states for the first time ever on Friday.
More than 300 local departments and Pennsylvania State Police will partner in the multi-state seatbelt enforcement effort. Pennsylvania police will also be joined by departments from Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
“We are pleased that we are able to partner with our neighboring states on this important safety issue,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. “Lack of, or improper seatbelt use is one of the leading causes of highway fatalities. We remind everyone that always buckling up greatly reduces your chances of serious injury in an accident.”
According to PennDOT, 611 people lost their lives on Pennsylvania roads in 2006 because they were not properly restrained.
As part of the border-to-border event, continuous enforcement is scheduled across each state from 8 a.m. through 2 a.m. The enforcement blitz is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, and coincides with the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which runs from May 14 to June 3.
During “Click It or Ticket,” State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said each state police troop will use the PROphecy computer program to identify high-crash areas within its region and then target enforcement efforts to those locations.
“Troopers also will conduct traffic safety checkpoints to educate the public about traffic laws and will hold at least one child passenger safety seat checkup in each troop area,” Miller said.
The checkups are designed to teach parents the proper installation and use of child safety seats. Dates and times for the checkups can be obtained by calling any State Police station or by visiting the state police Web site.
Pennsylvania is one of 47 states to participate in “Click It or Ticket,” under which unbelted drivers who are stopped and cited for a traffic violation can receive a second citation for failure to wear a seat belt.
Under Pennsylvania law, all front seat passengers are required to buckle up. PennDOT reminds motorists that children ages 4 to 8 must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat when riding anywhere in a motor vehicle. In addition, children ages 8 to 18 must be in a seat belt when riding anywhere in the vehicle. Both of these laws are secondary, which means drivers can be ticketed only when cited for another traffic violation such as speeding.
The state’s primary child passenger safety law states that children under the age of four must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat anywhere in the vehicle. The fine for non-use of child safety and booster seats is a maximum of $100 in addition to other costs. Failure to comply with the seat belt law can result in a penalty of $60, including the fine and other costs.