Seat-belt enforcement crackdown in Palo Alto

Police to watch for violators in a 'day and night' effort to increase seatbelt usage and reduce injuries and fatalities

Palo Alto police are on the lookout for motorists and passengers driving without a seatbelt.

Scofflaws face extra scrutiny in August and September as part of a statewide "Click It or Ticket" campaign that has been ongoing during 2010.

Seat belt usage in 2009 was 95.2 percent, which still leaves more than a million "unclicked" Californians vulnerable to serious injury and death, according to Palo Alto police Chief Dennis Burns.

More than 1,389 people in passenger vehicles died in crashes while unbelted in 2008, he noted. About half of these lives could have been saved if they had been wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, according to highway safety estimates.

"Seat belts save lives and law enforcement will stop and cite those driving or riding without seat belts in vehicles. ... Officers will not give a pass on this critically important safety requirement, so please buckle up and protect your passengers by ensuring they fasten their seat belts or use the proper child-restraint system," Burns said.

Officers will be out day and night assuring that everyone is safely buckled in, he said. Teens will be a particular focus, he said, because their usage rate lags behind adults, but they are disproportionately involved in more crashes.

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Like this comment
Posted by cell phones
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm

They've already got 95% compliance on seatbelts. The cops should focus on something more important, like people talking on their cell phones and driving erratically. Cell phones kill innocent people. The only person killed by seatbelts is the idiot who didn't wear it.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of University South
on Aug 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I agree. People talking on cell phones endanger not themselves, or their passengers, but everyone else on the road. The culture has pretty much changed regarding seat belt use, virtually everyone now uses seat belts. We have a long way to go before we see similar compliance with cell phone laws: enforcement could really help this along.

Like this comment
Posted by Art
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm

How about spending more time on giving tickets to bicycle riders who continue to ignore red lights and stop signs particularly on University and Hamilton.

Like this comment
Posted by cell phones
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 9, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Focus on the real crime. I have never heard of a bicyclist killing an innocent car driver. The reverse happens regularly (including several recent cases in Palo Alto).

Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of University South
on Aug 10, 2010 at 12:43 am

"The only person killed by seatbelts is the idiot who didn't wear it."

Surprisingly, this isn't necessarily true. An unrestrained person in the vehicle can seriously injure or kill other people in that same car who may be restrained. (All it takes is one unrestrained person!) A 2004 Seattle study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that an unrestrained body beside, behind or in front of a restrained person increases the risk of death of the restrained person. It's therefore important that everyone in the car buckles up.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2010 at 5:54 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Is an officer peeking into other cars paying less attention to traffic?

Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2010 at 6:15 am

The cost to society from people who don't wear seat belts is high. If they are killed the roads are closed for hours and the police spend a long time doing investigations and reconstruction. If they are ejected but not killed they are usually injured very seriously and we all pay in increased insurance costs for the expensive emergency transport and extensive medical treatment they use. We are all in this together and those who act irresponsibly cost the rest of us money. It IS our business, not just those whose lives are directly affected.

Seat belt use in some states is only 60% - 70%, which is pathetic compared to California. Those are states where seat belt enforcement can not be done as a "primary" offense; the officer can only write up a seat belt ticket if the driver is stopped for some other primary violation.

Like this comment
Posted by TripleB
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 10, 2010 at 10:22 am

Seat belts, really? How about going after the drivers that run the traffic lights after they turn red, something I witness every single day.

Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I agree that running red lights is more serious than not wearing a seat belt, but wanted to express my disagreement with those who seem to think that seat belt use is solely a personal decision with no impact on the rest of us. I also feel that while red light running and cell phone use are more serious than not wearing a seat belt, that does not mean we should stop enforcing the law. How would you like it if your doctor decided not to give you any information on how to avoid skin cancer because he thought you were more likely to die of heart disease? We need to be concerned about all of the above, and we can't fixate on one thing exclusively.

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