BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Local Indiana State Police districts are addressing the 10% of people who they say drive without a seatbelt this spring by participating in the national Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign. A higher number of ISP officers than normal will be patrolling the state from now until June 6 to tell drivers about seatbelt safety, a press release sent Monday said.
According to the ISP, the 10% of Hoosiers who do not wear seatbelts while on the road account for a highly disproportionate number of Indiana auto deaths each year. The extra officers who will be patrolling the state and seeking to educate this small percentage is being paid for with money from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which is managed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
“Part of our job as law enforcement is to educate and that includes reminding drivers and passengers that buckling up isn’t just a suggestion, it’s the law,” Lieutenant Paul Bucher, ISP Bloomington District Commander, said. “If these extra patrols wake people up to the dangers of not wearing a seat belt, we’ll consider our mission a success.”
Since 2015, seat belts have saved over 69,000 people from death in the U.S., according to the NHTSA. However, in 2020 in Indiana 565 people riding in cars were killed and 364 of those people, over 60%, were not wearing seat belts.
“If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that life is precious,” ICJI Executive Director Devon McDonald said. “We expect more people will be venturing out and taking road trips this spring, and wearing a seat belt is still the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.”
According to the press release, ISP officers will be highly visible and will give citations especially at night, as midnight to 4 a.m. are the peak times for unrestrained driving. Under state law, ISP officers can pull over and cite drivers and passengers for not wearing a seat belt without any other offense being committed.
Additionally, drivers can be ticketed for every individual passenger 16 and under not wearing a seatbelt. Furthermore, kids 8 and under are required to be properly strapped in an approved child seat. ISP officers are adopting a no-excuses approach to seat belts during this campaign according to the press release, meaning any driver pulled over for a seat belt violation will automatically receive a ticket.