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Reminders to "Buckle Up. Every Time." Appear Statewide - Along with Extra Enforcement
05/14/2009
Carla Levinski
ODOT - Occupant Protection Program Manager
Office: (503) 986-4199

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "Click It or Ticket" logo link valid 30 days
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A new safety campaign shows a person recovering from injuries suffered in a car crash because he didn't buckle up. It was a just a quick trip, after all. And that's too bad, because when you don't wear a seat belt, you are five times more likely to be thrown from a vehicle. And when that happens, the odds of surviving are about one in four.
 
"Consistent safety belt use is the single most effective way people can protect themselves and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes," said Carla Levinski, Occupant Protection Program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation. "In 2009, we're celebrating the 50th birthday of the safety belt, so everyone should know by now how important it is to buckle up, every time."
 
Many Oregon law enforcement agencies will be working overtime to monitor safety belt use during the national "Click It or Ticket campaign, May 18 - 31. Despite having one of the highest safety belt usage rates in the nation at 96 percent, Oregon still experiences tragedy every year due to lack of belt use. In 2007, not wearing a safety belt was a major factor in half of Oregon's 452 fatalities.
 
Also in 2007, more than a third of children under age eight who were injured in crashes were unrestrained, held on laps, or using adult belt systems rather than child seats. Law enforcement will be watching to make sure child passengers are buckled in correctly. Oregon law requires that:
  • Children weighing less than 40 pounds be restrained in a child safety seat.
  • A child under one year of age or weighing less than twenty pounds be restrained in a child seat, rear-facing.
  • Children over forty pounds but under age eight or less than 4' 9" tall be restrained in booster seats that elevate them so the lap/shoulder belts fit correctly.
 
Participating agencies, including 29 Sheriff Offices, 55 Police Departments and OSP Patrol Division, will also check on safety belt usage in commercial vehicles. Last year, Oregon's law changed so that commercial vehicles designed or used to transport property are included in the safety belt law. This broad definition includes all types of trucks, vans, and passenger cars including those that are used for bulk transport, specialized delivery services, or movement of materials in conjunction with various projects or activities.

 
In addition, as warmer weather arrives, people need to remember that Oregon law prohibits minors from riding in the open bed of a pickup. Because there are no restraints to hold occupants in, riding in the back of an open pickup is especially dangerous.
 
Click It or Ticket is a national traffic enforcement mobilization funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through ODOT's Safety Division.
 
Important Notes
  • For help with child safety seats, refer to the seat manufacturer's instructions, vehicle owner's manual or call ACTS Oregon Child Safety Seat Resource Center at 1-800-772-1315. The Center also maintains a website listing locations where the public can get free help installing their car seats from trained technicians. Go to www.childsafetyseat.org
  • Child passengers should ride in the back seat of motor vehicles. While it is not the law in Oregon, it is strongly recommended that children aged twelve and under ride in rear seating positions. Research indicates that such rear seating reduces the risk of injury by 37 percent.
  • "Proper use" is required by Oregon law and means using the entire belt system - lap belt if only a lap belt is provided, and both lap and shoulder belts where both are provided. The lap belt should be worn low across the hips and the shoulder belt should be placed over the collarbone and crossing center of chest. Belts should be free of slack and lying flat with no twists or knots. If the shoulder belt portion of your safety belt rides up onto your neck or feels uncomfortable, you may increase your comfort by sliding the built-in adjuster up or down or by moving your seat position. Do NOT place your shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back - this can cause serious internal injuries or ejection in a crash. For help with repair, installation or retrofitting of safety belts, call your vehicle dealer or vehicle manufacturer's customer service department.
 
For more information about traffic safety, visit www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/safetybelts.shtml.