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St. Helens police participate in "Click it or Ticket" seat belt campaign

Image courtesy of the St. Helens Police Department. Used with permission
Image courtesy of the St. Helens Police Department. Used with permission
Image courtesy of the St. Helens Police Department. Used with permission

In conjunction with the Oregon Department of Transportation and other local law enforcement agencies, the St. Helens Police Department will conduct a "Click it or Ticket" safety blitz campaign, focusing on daytime and nighttime safety belt usage as well as minors in open pickup beds. Officers will also be looking for distracted drivers who are texting, using their cell phones or speeding

For safety belt systems, “proper use” means the lap belt is placed low across the hips and shoulder belt crossing center of the chest over the collar bone. Seat belts should be free of slack and lying flat with no twists or knots. If the shoulder belt portion of the belts rides up onto the neck or feels uncomfortable, comfort may be increased by using the built in adjuster or repositioning the seat. The shoulder belt should NOT be placed under the arm or behind the back – this can cause serious internal injuries or ejection during a crash. Falling to wear the seat belt properly is also a violation and can result in a citation.

Under Oregon law, a child weighing less than 40 pounds must 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 a harness system or in a booster seat that raises the child up so that a lap and shoulder belt system fit correctly. The correct fit for a child is the same as described for an adult.

Safety belts dramatically reduce the fatality risk and yet 31 percent or 61 of Oregon’s 198 occupant fatalities in 2012 were reportedly unrestrained. ODOT estimates that approximately half of those fatalities could have been avoided with proper restraint use. Consistent vehicle restraint use is the single most effective way to protect motor vehicle occupants from crash injury or death, according to the US Department of Transportation. Oregonians are doing a great job of using their seat belts while in their vehicles. A statewide survey in June of 2013 found 98 percent of Oregon’s motoring public use safety belts, making Oregon one of the two highest belt use states in our country.

The goal of this program is to increase that percentage, reduce the severity of crash injuries and make our highways safer.