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Campaign focuses on pickup and nighttime safety belt usage


May 15, 2013

For more information: Carla Levinski, Occupant Protection Program manager, (503) 986-4199 or Shelley M. Snow, Public Affairs, (503) 881-5362


SALEM – Pickup truck occupants, like everyone else in a vehicle, need to buckle up properly, every time. Even though Oregon now has the second highest safety belt use among U.S. states – with 97 percent of the motoring public using safety belts routinely – 49 people in Oregon last year lost their lives in crashes where they were in a pickup and were not wearing a safety belt. When you think about a father or son, mother or sister lost in this way, you understand why the message “buckle up every time” is continually emphasized.

“We know that proper belt use is the single most effective way to protect motor vehicle occupants from crash injury or death,” said ODOT Director Matt Garrett. “While we’re pleased to see Oregonians buckling up more and more, we won’t stop emphasizing the need for safety belts, child safety seats and boosters until we have zero fatalities on our roads.”

Last year in Oregon, 61 vehicle occupants who died in crashes were completely unbelted. The majority of these – 49 – were occupants in pickup trucks, and two-thirds of these unbuckled fatalities occurred in nighttime crashes. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is encouraging states to conduct nighttime enforcement of safety belt laws, as well as daytime, during the upcoming nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign, May 20 - June 2. The effort is part of the state’s month-long “Transportation Safety Month” activities.

Oregon State Police, Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association are participating in this second of three annual joint efforts sponsored by ODOT and the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition to pickups and nighttime driving, law enforcement will also be focusing on our most vulnerable passengers: children. In 2012 in Oregon, there were 1,038 child passengers under age four injured in traffic crashes. One-third of these children were improperly buckled or completely unrestrained.

 “Best Practice Recommendations” of the American Academy of Pediatrics and USDOT suggest that children ride in rear-facing car seats to age two or the upper weight limit of the seat in use. Children should continue to ride in safety seats to forty pounds or the upper weight limit of their safety seat before transitioning to a booster seat. Children under thirteen should ride in the back seat.

Oregon law requires a child weighing less than 40 pounds be properly restrained in a child safety seat. A child under one year of age or weighing less than twenty pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing child seat. A child over forty pounds but under age eight or less than 4’ 9” tall must be restrained in either a child seat with harness system or in a booster seat that raises the child up so that a lap and shoulder belt system fit correctly. For more information on Oregon laws or ODOT Occupant Protection Program, visit www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/Pages/safetybelts.
To learn more about keeping child passengers safe, visit a free child safety seat clinic, held around the state throughout the year; see the online calendar.
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