Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety, announces that additional troopers will be assigned to focus on enforcement of the state’s seat belt laws as part of the national Click It or Ticket highway safety campaign from May 13 to June 2.

“We always encourage motorists to buckle up and we are out there enforcing the state’s seat belt and child restraint laws each and every day,” Colonel Manni said. “However, we will be adding extra patrols that will specifically focus on enforcement of these laws during the Click It or Ticket campaign.”

There’s no question that seat belts save lives, Colonel Manni said. Studies show that people who wear seat belts or are properly secured in child safety seats are nearly 50 percent less likely to get killed or seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash. From 1975 through 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that seat belts have saved 374,196 lives.

Conversely, NHTSA also reports that nearly half of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 were not wearing seat belts at the time.

That’s why NHTSA provides additional funding to state and local police across the country to provide increased enforcement of seat belt and child restraint laws this time of year The Click It or Ticket highway safety campaign runs through the Memorial Day holiday weekend, which marks the start of the summer driving season – traditionally the deadliest time of year on the nation’s roadways.

Rhode Island laws require all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts and for children to be secured in an approved infant or child seat or booster seat until at least age 8, unless the child is at least 57 inches tall and/or weighs at least 80 pounds and can safely use a seat belt instead. The fine for failure to wear a seat belt is $40 and the fine for failure to use a child restraint is $85.

“Wearing a seat belt is not only required by law, but it also is the single best way to protect yourself and your passengers in the event of a crash,” Colonel Manni said. “So remember to buckle up every time you get into your vehicle – and make sure your passengers buckle up, too.”

Seat Belt Dos and Don’ts

Do

• Buckle up – every ride, every time
• Make sure you wear the seat belt properly – away from your neck, across your chest and snugly across your lap
• Restrain children in approved car seats or booster seats until they outgrow the size limits of booster seats, usually between ages 8 and 12

Don’t

• Drive or ride in any vehicle without wearing a seat belt
• Wear a seat belt under your arm or behind your back
• Allow children under age 12 to sit in the front seat, even with a seat belt or child safety seat, unless there is no back seat in the vehicle (i.e., a pickup truck)

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