PennDOT Announces Record Number of Motorists Buckling Up

October 14, 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Nearly 88 percent of motorists on Pennsylvania roads are making the often life-saving decision to obey the law and buckle up. The 2009 seat belt use rate for Pennsylvania reached a record of 87.9 percent, an increase from the previous high of 86.7 percent reported in 2007.

“The simple act of putting on a seat belt or properly restraining your child is the one step you can take to increase your chances of surviving a crash,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. “PennDOT will continue to encourage every driver to buckle up and make sure everyone else in their vehicle does, too.”

Stronger traffic safety enforcement is one contributing factor to the rising seat belt usage rate.

Approximately 450 municipal police departments and Pennsylvania State Police participate in national and statewide Click It or Ticket campaigns. More than 10,000 seat belt citations were issued by these departments in the last year. PennDOT invested nearly $2.5 million of federal funding for this enforcement.

Another possible reason for the improvement is broader seat belt education, aimed at students in kindergarten through grade 12. Law enforcement officers presented more than 850 programs reaching 47,000 students. In conjunction with the programs, police increased the number of patrols around schools to encourage young drivers and their passengers to buckle up.

PennDOT reminds motorists that under Pennsylvania law, all front seat passengers are required to buckle up. Failure to comply with the seat belt law can result in a penalty of $60, including the fine and other costs.

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 requires children under the age of four to 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.

For more highway safety information, visit www.DriveSafePA.org.

Media contact: Alison Wenger, 717-783-8800

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Source: newswire

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