Seat belt law crackdown begins

Several area law enforcement agencies launched their participation Monday in the annual Click It or Ticket It national seat belt enforcement campaign.

The Virginia State Police, sheriff’s offices in Frederick and Shenandoah counties and the Front Royal Police Department are among the agencies that have deployed extra patrols for enforcing traffic safety laws. Law enforcement officials are placing an especially high priority on laws requiring adults riding in the front seat to be wearing seat and shoulder belts and children throughout the vehicle to be restrained either by safety or booster seats.

The Click It to Ticket campaign will run through May 31.

Master Police Officer Travis Cave of the Front Royal police said the Click It or Ticket campaign usually improves rates of seat belt usage in Front Royal while it is in effect. The goal of the 2015 campaign is to raise the statewide seat belt compliance rate from 79.7 percent to 82.5 percent.

“It’s typically a pretty effective campaign,” Cave said of Click It or Ticket, adding that the rate of seat belt usage tends to increase during the extra patrols but then declines later in the year.

“Seat belt usage is important year round, not just during Click It or Ticket,” Cave said.

Cave and Lt. Warren Gosnell of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said they have seen a tendency for parents to diligently place their children in proper safety or booster seats but then neglect to belt themselves in.

“I think the nurturing part of adults and guardians takes care to make sure their children are buckled in,” Gosnell said. “You’re always more careful with your own children than you are in your own regard, which I don’t understand.”

Gosnell said traffic fatalities have decreased the last two years in Frederick County, a trend that has coincided with a drop in the number of unbelted vehicle occupants injured or killed. So far this year, two people who were not wearing seat belts have died in Frederick County crashes and another 14 unbelted occupants have been injured.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com