In 2013, there were over 365 unrestrained accidents in North Carolina, wrecks causing fatalities where the victim was not wearing a seatbelt, according to state statistics. The highest age bracket are those between15 and 29 years of age. The current seat belt usage rate in North Carolina is 88.6%, but state reports say over 40% of motor vehicle fatalities each year continue to be due to unrestrained drivers and passengers. But Caldwell County, a survey site for seatbelt usage rates, shows results saying that, out of 100 NC counties, Caldwell ranks one of the lower 25 in seatbelt usage and unrestrained fatalities. Because of that, Caldwell County residents will see an increase in enforcement not only during the month of Mayone of the highest months of unrestrained fatalities in North Carolinabut throughout the year, with the goal is to gain compliance. Police warn that if you choose to take the risk of not wearing your seatbelt, expect to receive a $161.00 seatbelt citation. Residents of the County will see survey personnel sitting stationary at intersections counting both drivers and passengers using or not using seatbelts.
All of the Law Enforcement agencies inside of Caldwell County have formed a Task Force that concentrates on making our roadways safer, Lenoir, Hudson, Granite Falls Police Departments, The Caldwell County Sheriffs Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol making up this force.
With this project, patrol vehicles from another jurisdiction can enforce the laws wherever they see violations. In the past, some residents have become confused seeing drivers ticketed by another agency out of their normal jurisdiction, but with all of the agencies in Caldwell County working through Mutual Aid Requests, agencies are able to enforce the laws outside of their normal enforcement jurisdiction. Police say the key note is Compliance. Buckle up, make sure your children are secured safely either in the proper child passenger seat or seatbelt. It may save your life or someone riding with you.
Chief Scott Brown said, Seat belt usage is important. Whether or not you support the law, research has emphatically proven that seat belts save lives and we are in the life saving business. The men and women of law enforcement prefer that our citizens voluntarily comply with the law. However, when that doesnt happen, our job is to help people understand the rules, and sometimes that costs people money. Its a lot cheaper and a lot safer to just buckle-up and stay safe. He went on to say, We are proud of the relationship we have with our fellow public safety agencies and are honored to support the cause of highway safety throughout Caldwell County.
- Written by Steve Frank