W.Va law enforcement to focus on seat belt violations

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 12:44 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginians who are not wearing a seat belt will be more likely to get a ticket for it for the next two weeks.

Law enforcement officers in West Virginia will be out in full force, ticketing seat belt violators who are caught traveling without a buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children, according to the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

The GHSP is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for Operation Crash Reduction, an effort focused on a region that sees some of the nation’s highest numbers of traffic crash-induced fatalities.

This region includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia.

According to NHTSA, from 2015-2019, this specific set of states had 885 fatal crashes from October 1-15. This is the highest number of fatal crashes for the first 15 days of any month during this same time period.

“For several years now, we have had this troubling trend in this East Coast region,” said Stephanie Hancock, NHTSA Regional Administrator. “We know that speed, distraction, and impairment are the root causes of most of the crashes in these states. However, seat belt and child safety seat use are your primary sources of protection in crashes caused by a speeding, impaired, or distracted driver.”

Nationally, 45% of all front-row passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2019 were unrestrained, but 58% of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.

“Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat or in a pickup truck without buckling up. Remember, no matter where you are seated or how big your vehicle is, if you are unrestrained you can be fully ejected from the vehicle—which is almost always deadly,” said Amy Boggs, GHSP Occupant Protection Program Coordinator. “During Operation Crash Reduction, law enforcement officers will be checking for seat belt use across the state, while educating drivers and passengers on the importance of wearing a seat belt.”