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92% of Delawareans Do This All The Time

Date Posted: Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Categories:  News Office of Highway Safety Safety and Homeland Security

Dover –   Do you buckle up every time you get in a vehicle?  92% of Delawareans do, every trip every time.  The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and law enforcement officials are reminding the other 8% to buckle up.  OHS will coordinate overtime seat belt enforcement with our law enforcement partners from March 8th to 16th.  Participating law enforcement agencies include Milford PD, New Castle County PD, Newark PD, Wilmington PD, Wyoming PD, and Delaware State Police.

OHS will be combining enforcement with paid media, education & outreach that will get the message to buckle up to the individuals in need of hearing the message.  Posters, informational flyers, and newsletters have been distributed to traffic safety partners, schools, and businesses that highlight the importance of seat belt use.  In addition, OHS is sponsoring the DIAA Boys Basketball tournament on March 6 and 8 at the UD Bob Carpenter Sports building and will have a Buckle Up Photo Booth, seat belt informational table, seat belt public service announcements, and halftime shooting contest to win NASCAR tickets to Dover International Speedway.  The shooting contest contestants will be chosen from those who visit the seat belt informational table and participants of the Buckle Up Photo Booth.

Paid media will accompany the enforcement with ads on tv, online, and Pandora.  In the new ads, individuals give their reasons why they wear a seat belt: “I do it for protection,” “I do it because, I like the way it makes me feel,” “I do it because my girlfriend prefers it”, yet 8% of Delawareans still don’t buckle up.

Delaware’s seat belt law requires all vehicle occupants, even back seat passengers, to be “properly” buckled up.  “Properly” means that both lap and shoulder belts must be worn.  In particular, the shoulder belt must be worn across the chest.  Anyone who puts the shoulder belt under their arm, or behind their back is in violation of state law and is putting themselves at greater risk for being seriously injured in a crash.

The law allows officers to pull over a driver if he/she sees any person in the vehicle not wearing a safety belt.  Officers will issue citations for seat belt violations as part of a zero-tolerance policy.  The ticket, which goes to the driver no matter who is unbuckled in the vehicle, is a $25.00 fine plus court administrative fees.

In addition, Delaware’s child restraint law says that the driver is responsible for making sure all children in the vehicle are properly buckled up.  All children under the age of 8 years or 65lbs must be in the appropriate child restraint seat (an infant, toddler or booster seat).  Children who are 8 or at least 65lbs in weight, whichever comes first, must be restrained in a seat belt.  Children under the age of 12 must ride in the back seat when front seat passenger air bags are present.  Child restraint violations are also $25.00 plus court administrative fees.

More waves of seat belt enforcement will take place in May, June, and July.    Delaware’s current seat belt use rate of 92% exceeds the latest 2012 national seat belt use rate of 86%.

For more information on Delaware’s seat belt law or enforcement campaigns, please visit the Office of Highway Safety’s website at www.ohs.delaware.gov, Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE, or Follow us on Twitter @DEHighwaySafe.  For information on the latest national seat belt use rate by states (2012) visit http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811809.pdf.

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