Beginning April 20, troopers from the Putnamville State Police Post will increase seatbelt patrols throughout Putnam, Clay, Parke and Sullivan counties as part of the state's Rural Demonstration Project.
On Thursday state police officials announced their participation in the annual effort, which aims to increase seat belt use by motorists in rural counties with the highest percentage of unrestrained fatalities.
According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, 64 percent of the state's total traffic fatalities in 2011 occurred on rural roadways.
In an effort to reduce these fatalies, approximately 24 Indiana law enforcement agencies throughout the state have been selected to take part in this year's project, which runs through May 17.
The project is in conjunction with the Indiana State Police.
Participating agencies will be looking for unrestrained vehicles, including pickup trucks.
Last year there were three fatalities in Putnam County. One was restrained and the other two are unknown.
Clay had one fatality, Parke two and Sullivan three.
"Our increased RDP enforcement effort is not only aimed at increasing seatbelt usage, but is a dedicated effort to remind motorists of the life saving value that vehicle safety belts possess," said Lt. Dan Jones, commander of the Putnamville district. "While the possibility exists for more restraint violation citations, we prefer to have voluntary compliance with the law."
Since 2007, Indiana's primary seat belt law has required that all passenger motor vehicle occupant, including those in pickup trucks, buckle up regardless of seating position.
During Indiana's 2011 "Click It of Ticket" mobilization, law enforcement officers cited more than 18,000 motorists for failure to comply with the state's seat belt law.
RDP is an annual traffic safety effort made possible through Federal Highway Safety grants administered by the ICJI.