Local police departments aim to increase seat belt usage

Police from local municipal departments are coming together with Maryland officers in a Click it or Ticket campaign to promote seat belt across the border.

Local police departments are partnering with Maryland Law Enforcement Agencies in the Border to Border Seat Belt Enforcement campaign.

The municipal departments, which includes Cumberland Township, Eastern Adams Regional, and Gettysburg, and Pennsylvania State Police, Gettysburg, kicked off the campaign Monday afternoon in Hanover at the West Manheim Township Police Department. The event was part of the “Click It or Ticket” Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization, which runs through June 2.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Border to Border is a one-day, four-hour national seat belt awareness event to start the annual Click It or Ticket campaign, which aims to promote seat belt usage.

According to the PennDOT’s 2017 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics, the combination of lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduces the risk of fatal injuries to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of suspected minor-to-critical injuries by 50 percent.

Law enforcement agencies joined forces to provide an increased seat belt enforcement at state borders.

Members of local police departments gathered for a press conference to show the partnership and commitment between Pennsylvania and Maryland law enforcement. Some of the represented members of law enforcement shared statistics from their own careers of the survival rate of people involved in accidents who do not wear seat belts.

Jeff Bowman, Pennsylvania law enforcement liaison began the press conference by addressing concerns posted online regarding a driver’s right to choose if they wanted to wear a seat belt. “We’d like to remind everyone that driving is a privilege, not a right,” he said.

Since 1987 Pennsylvania law has said that drivers and front seat passengers of a passenger car, Class I and Class II trucks, or motor home must wear a properly-adjusted and fastened seat belt.

According to Maryland Law Enforcement representatives, not wearing a seat belt is a primary offense in Maryland, meaning an officer can pull you over for not wearing one. In Pennsylvania, it is a secondary offense, meaning an officer cannot pull a driver over directly for not using a seat belt, but can charge a driver with it if the driver has been pulled over for another offense such as speeding.

The nationwide Border to Border event took place across the nation from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Monday evening including near the Mason Dixon Line.

West Manheim Township, Penn Township, Hanover Borough Police Departments and the Maryland State Police and Carroll County Sheriff’s Department are also participating in the initiative.

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