As they have for the past several years, are participating in New York State’s Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, which runs for two weeks through June 5.
According to Lt. Robert Pearce of the Southampton Town Police Department, officers will be strictly enforcing the seat belt law around the clock.
“During the two-week period, department officers will be assigned at random times of the day and evening to monitor and enforce the seatbelt statutes,” Pearce said. “We especially monitor school zones and business districts.”
The enforcement campaign, Pearce explained, is funded through the state and each year, the Southampton Town Police Department receives a grant for $15,000 to pay for additional officers to be out on the streets to enforce the seat belt laws.
Last year, Pearce said, the enforcement campaign resulted in more than 300 seat belt tickets.
“I would say that 15 out of 100 people don’t wear their seat belts,” Pearce said. “It’s mostly commercial drivers that we find are not wearing their belts."
For the most part, however, he said the compliance has improved over the years.
“It’s a natural thing now to get in your car and put your seat belt on,” he said.
Talking numbers, Pearce said in 2006, the police department issued 1,245 tickets and four years later in 2009, they gave out 1,000 seat belt tickets.
Pearce pointed out the importance of buckling up, saying that when used correctly seat belts have been proven to save lives.
“The risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent and 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans,” Pearce said.
Suffolk County police are also taking part.
In a release to the news media, the Suffolk County Police Department said it, along with state police, will be patrolling the roads, taking “a zero tolerance approach with those who violate New York State’s seat belt laws.”
According to New York State Law, all occupants age 8 and older must wear a seat belt; all rear seat passengers, ages 8 through 15 must wear a seat belt; all passengers younger than 4-years-old must be in a federally approved child safety seat; and all children ages four through seven must be in a booster seat.
Drivers will be held responsible for all passengers under the age of 16 who are found in violation of the seat belt law.