- Ada, Oklahoma

May 25, 2014

Police to enforce seat belt campaign

Randy Mitchell Special Correspondent
The Ada News

Ada — “Click It or Ticket.”

The phrase is pretty self-explanatory. Ada police and other local law enforcement will have special emphisis on the seat belt campaign over the next two weeks.

Ada Police Captain Jason Potter said although police always enforce seat belt laws, there are occasions when certain officers are devoted strictly to enforcing seat belt laws. He said there will be checkpoints and saturation patrols during the campaign.

Potter said seat belt use not only saves lives, but reduces injuries and the severity of injuries when a crash occurs.

“We have high rate of accidents in Ada and Pontotoc County,” Potter said. “We’re doing everything we can to reduce those numbers, but we are also focusing on getting the number of injuries and fatalities lowered.”

Potter said most modern vehicles are equipped with airbags, which save lives, but can also cause quite a few injuries as well.

“When people are slammed forward due to impact and the airbags are coming out, that causes quite a few injuries in itself,” Potter said. “I’ve seen those things cause just as much damage, if not more, than the wreck itself.”

Potter said Ada police are working overtime shifts with certain officers concentrating exclusively on enforcing seat belt laws. Funding for the campaign is made possible by a $20,000 grant from the Highway Safety Office to pay officers overtime. Overtime officers can focus on seat belt citations while regular patrols handle day-to-day law enforcement.

According to new data released from the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatalities are up nationwide for the first time in 5 years. In 2012, 10,335 people killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts. NHTSA data also details the fact that more traffic vehicle deaths occur at night. In 2012, 61 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed during the hours of 6 p.m. – 5:59 a.m. were not wearing seat belts.   

In 2012 seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 lives nationwide. An additional 3,031 lives could have been saved if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had been properly restrained.