From May 11 to May 25, the Watertown Police Department will team up with Massachusetts State Police and more than 191 eligible local police departments statewide to promote seat belt usage through increased traffic enforcement.
Watertown will take part in the national Click It or Ticket (CIOT) seat belt enforcement mobilization, which is funded by a federal grant administered through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD), according to an announcement from the Watertown Police Department.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013 there were 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the United States. 49 percent of the people killed (10,458) were unbelted. “Watertown is focusing our enforcement efforts on safety belts to increase usage and save lives,” said Watertown Police Sgt. David Sampson.
NHTSA reports that the national seat belt usage rate is 87 percent. Massachusetts is lagging behind at 76.6 percent. During the five-year period from 2009 to 2013, Massachusetts had a lower rate of restraint use among fatally-injured passenger vehicle occupants than the rest of the nation.
“Officers will issue citations to anyone traveling without a buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children. The goal is not to hand out tickets, but to keep the public safe. A seat belt is the best defense against impaired, distracted, and aggressive drivers,” said Sgt. Sampson.