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Arizona Department of Public Safety Kicks off 2012 Seatbelt Challenge

The goal is to reduce fatal collisions statewide

Monday, August 13, 2012 -

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July of 2012, saw the highest number of fatal collisions investigated by DPS statewide in many years. Of the 25 fatal crashes DPS officers investigated last month, 15 of the occupants killed were not wearing seat restraints.

Virtually every DPS officer has made next-of-kin notification following a fatal crash. Informing family members that their loved one died as a result of a crash is very difficult, especially knowing that something as simple as buckling up could have saved a life.

It is a well-documented fact the use of passenger restraints prevents or lessens the severity of injuries caused in crashes. In addition to the loss of life and emotional devastation, there are many economic losses felt by all. The use of passenger restraints can lessen or eliminate these losses, reduce traffic congestion and free up first-responders for activities that further promote highway and public safety.

In Arizona, seatbelt violations are a secondary offense. In an effort to increase compliance with restraint statutes, the Arizona Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Division has initiated the 2012 Seatbelt Challenge. The challenge is a three-month voluntary program to encourage officers to focus on the enforcement of the secondary seatbelt law in addition to the primary reason for the traffic stop.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the seatbelt use rate in Arizona for 2011 was 82.9%. Statistics continue to bear out the fact that unrestrained occupants involved in a traffic crash are many times more likely to be injured or killed. DPS officers are being encouraged to participate in this life saving effort by focusing on seatbelt and child restraint enforcement during the next three months.

The goal is to keep everyone safe on the road and prevent needless injuries and fatalities as a result of not buckling up.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.