Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

July 2, 2013

Summer traffic safety projects continue by partnership


Greensburg Daily News

---- — Greensburg – Indiana’s Rural Demonstration Project (RDP), which began on April 26, a 21-day special mobilization and the annual Click it or Ticket (CIOT) a 17-day campaign have

completed in Decatur County.

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Department and the Greensburg Police Department worked together in a traffic safety partnership, formed in 2011, on both these projects. The projects resulted in 238 seat belt tickets, four arrests and 315 warnings being issued during the annual enforcement period, with 154 additional enforcement hours being worked.

Approximately 15 law enforcement agencies in 14 Indiana counties participated in RDP in conjunction with the Indiana State Police. RDP further increased high visibility seat belt patrols

in areas with higher percentages of fatalities that occurred due to non-restraint.

According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI), 18 percent of the state’s total traffic fatalities occurred on rural roadways in 2011. Statistics also show that Americans driving or

riding on rural roadways face a much greater risk of being injured or killed than those in urban or suburban areas.

During RDP, officers were on the lookout for unrestrained motorists in all vehicles, including pickup trucks. According to ICJI, pickup truck drivers and occupants account for the lowest

percentage of restraint use in the state – with an 84.8 percent seat belt usage rate (among pickup truck drivers) topped by the 94.9 percent seat belt usage rate among motorists in passenger motor vehicles.

“The purpose of high visibility enforcement patrols was to deter risky driving behaviors that pose dangerous consequences both for the driver and other motorists,” said Sheriff’s Lieutenant Robert Duckworth. “It is critical that we continue to focus on educating pickup truck drivers and other segments of the driving population, like young drivers, on the importance of seat belt usage, as both groups continue to account for the motorists most impacted by injuries and fatalities that could otherwise be prevented.”

According to the latest preliminary statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 86 percent of passenger vehicle

occupants across the nation in 2012 were wearing seat belts – a record high rate.

High-visibility enforcement such as the Click It or Ticket mobilization is credited with increasing the national seat belt usage rate from 58 percent in 1994, to the estimated observed usage rate of 86 percent in 2012. Belt use saves thousands of lives across America each year. NHTSA statistics show that in 2011 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide.

The Rural Demonstration Project (RDP) is an annual traffic safety effort made possible through federal highway safety funds administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). Law enforcement officers around the state concentrate on rural seat belt enforcement in counties found to have a higher percentage of unrestrained fatalities.

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