City police step up enforcement of safety belt compliance

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Greencastle Police Department will participate in a statewide safety belt enforcement blitz beginning Sunday, Feb. 4.

"We will be on the lookout for and ticketing drivers violating Indiana safety belt laws, while educating them on how to properly restrain child passengers," Officer Mike Collins said.

The purpose of the crackdown is to remind all parents and other adults responsible for children that from birth to 8 years of age, children must ride in a child safety restraint. In addition, all children ages 8-16 riding in a motor vehicle must be in a child restraint or seat belt, including those who ride in pickup trucks and vehicles with truck license plates.

Increased safety belt enforcement and booster seat education will take place from Feb. 4-Feb. 17. A statewide media outreach campaign will coincide with the enforcement period.

In the United States, an average of five children ages 14 or younger were killed and 640 were injured every day in motor vehicle crashes in 2005.

As they grow, children should progress through three types of child safety seats before using the safety belt alone: rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat and booster seat.

Booster seats raise children up so the safety belt fits properly. With a belt positioning booster seat, safety restraints have a 59-percent effective use rate.

Those who violate the new law will commit a class D infraction, which carries a $25 fine. However, offenders can avoid the fine if they prove they have obtained an adequate restraint system for their children.

Fines collected under the law will be deposited into a state fund that will be used to make grants to public and private organizations for the purchase and distribution of child restraint systems to those who are unable to afford them.

This campaign is sponsored by the Governor's Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving, a division of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Federal funding for the initiative is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information about child passenger safety, contact the Automotive Safety Program at 1-800-KID-N-CAR or visit

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