Police urge motorists to buckle up

Police urge motorists to buckle up

Along with law enforcement agencies across the nation, Fairfax County Police officers will step up seat belt enforcement and education efforts during the Click It or Ticket mobilization beginning this week. Motorists should expect to see officers

conducting seatbelt surveys at many intersections across the county through June 1.

Click It or Ticket is a high-visibility enforcement program designed to raise safety belt usage and save Virginians from roadway deaths and injuries. There were 52 people killed in 47 crashes in 2007 on Fairfax County roadways. Of those victims, 16 were either pedestrians or bicyclists. Of the other fatal crashes, just 48% were wearing restraints. Fairfax County Police officers issued 6,196 seat belt violations during 2007.

Statewide, according to preliminary numbers from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were 1,026 fatalities in Virginia in 2007. Of those, 60% were not wearing safety restraints.

When worn correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45%, and 60% in pickup trucks, SUVs and mini-vans. Yet, nearly one in four Virginians fail to regularly wear their seat belts when driving or riding in a vehicle.

The Fairfax County Police Department reminds motorists of several restraint laws that became effective July 2007:

Virginias Child Restraint Device Law: Child restraint devices are required for children through the age of seven (until 8th birthday). Child restraint devices must be properly used and meet standards adopted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Rear-facing child restraint devices must be placed in the back seat of a vehicle. In the event the vehicle does not have a back seat, the child restraint device must be placed in the front passenger seat only if the vehicle is either not equipped with a passenger side airbag or the passenger side airbag has been deactivated.

Children can no longer ride unrestrained in the rear cargo area of vehicles.

The law applies to anyone (i.e. parents, grandparents, babysitters, friends) who provides transportation to a child in any vehicle manufactured after January 1, 1968.

Virginias Passenger Safety Belt Law:

Children age 8 through age 15 (until age 16) must be belted correctly in vehicle safety belts in vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1968. Exemptions are taxicabs, school buses, executive sedans and limosines.

This safety belt law is primary enforcement no other violation need be committed prior to ticketing for failure to have a child correctly buckled up.