Friday, November 21, 2008

Troopers checking for seatbelt offenders at night


SEATTLE – Beware! If you're driving at night and you're not buckled up, state troopers will track you down.

For the next three weeks, 60 police agencies across the state are conducting extra seatbelt crackdowns at nighttime.

The Washington State Patrol says there's a very good reason they are targeting seatbelt offenders at night.

The goal is to catch seatbelt offenders at nighttime because they tend to be different from drivers caught during the day.

"The people who chose not to wear their seatbelt at night tend to be involved in other criminal activity," said Sgt. Harlan Jackson, Washington State Patrol. "So we might not be just pulling over someone for a seatbelt, that might lead to someone driving under the influence."

From 2001 to 2007, Washington State saw more than 3,200 vehicle crash deaths – about 1,500 during the day, and 1,600 at night.

It may seem almost equal but the death rate at night is four times as high when you factor in how many people are on the road.

Studies show wearing your seatbelts can reduce that risk by 70 percent.

Washington State has one of the highest compliance rates in the country, but they estimate about 4 percent of drivers or passengers aren't wearing their seatbelt and that comes out to almost 240,000 lives that could be saved.

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