Friday, August 22, 2014

Police: Community has more to learn on seat belts, safety

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 6/17/2013

Nearly 200 motorists found out the hard way that the Ottawa Police Department takes seat belt laws seriously.

Ottawa police officers issued 188 citations — 161 for seat belt violations — between May 20 and June 2 as part of its annual participation in the statewide Click It or Ticket campaign, according to an Ottawa Police Department report.

Nearly 200 motorists found out the hard way that the Ottawa Police Department takes seat belt laws seriously.

Ottawa police officers issued 188 citations — 161 for seat belt violations — between May 20 and June 2 as part of its annual participation in the statewide Click It or Ticket campaign, according to an Ottawa Police Department report.

During beefed-up patrols for the campaign, police officers issued about twice as many seat belt citations this year than they did during the 2012 Kansas Click It or Ticket campaign, when the department doled out 96 tickets, according to police statistics.

“I can’t say if more drivers weren’t buckling up as last year; I do know that the officers worked aggressively to find as many drivers not buckling up as they could — the results speak for themselves,” Capt. Adam Weingartner, with the Ottawa Police Department, said. “Officers worked 43.5 hours of [Special Traffic Enforcement Program] enforcement.”

A breakdown of tickets issued in the 2013 campaign shows 158 citations were issued for adults with no seat belts, three for children 13 and younger without seat belts or proper restraints, two for speeding and 24 for suspended licenses, no insurance and other violations, according to police department statistics.

“The results of this year’s Click It or Ticket campaign say to me that our work is not done in educating the motoring public to buckle up every time they get into a car,” Weingartner said. “Our officers will continue to enforce seat belt laws and make the roadways as safe as possible.”  

The beefed-up patrols for the campaign are funded in part through a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation, a police department news release said.

“In the past year, we’ve made significant progress in educating the public; especially our high school students,” Weingartner said. “We worked with Ottawa High School and started the SAFE [Seat Belts Are For Everyone] program — notice that none of the citations issued during Click It or Ticket campaign were issued to teen drivers. We know that all teens aren’t buckling up, but we know from the surveys — that the Ottawa High School students completed — that OHS students are buckling up more often.”

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