There's a message that Newton Police Department's Deputy Chief Craig Dunlavy is trying to get out — buckle up.
The department will pay a little extra attention to who is wearing seatbelts, and how they are wearing them, between May 22 and June 4. That is “Click it or Ticket” time.
“I don't want to people to only focus on wearing their seatbelt through this two week period,” Dunlavy said. “Our ultimate goal is to get them wearing a seat belt every time they sit in a vehicle. Every time, throughout the entire year. We dedicate this time to it to educate people to do it. Unfortunately, it will cost them $10 if they are not.”
According to the United Health Foundation, 83 percent of adults self reported always using seat belts when driving. The same study showed Nebraska at 75.4 percent, Oklahoma at 84.5 percent, Missouri at 79.8 percent and Colorado at 84.8 percent.
During Click it or Ticket the Newton Police Department will be running “saturation patrols.” That means an officer on patrol, dedicated only to seat belt enforcement.
“That officer's time will be reimbursed by the state,” Dunlavy said. “Times will vary throughout the two week period. They could be out for the morning commute, they could be out for the noon commute or they could be out for the evening commute. It will vary throughout the day.”
Officers will not only pull over drivers if they are not wearing a seatbelt, they will be pulling over vehicles for violations for passengers as well.
“It may be uncomfortable, but it is dangerous to not wear it,” Dunlavy said. “Kids under the age of 14, no matter where they are at, have to have a seat belt on.”
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, in June of 2010, enforcement of the adult safety belt law became a Primary law. The Kansas law enables police officers to stop and ticket the driver of any passenger vehicle if either the driver or front seat passenger is observed not wearing a seat belt. This law also applies to anyone under age 18.