(WANE) The annual law enforcement campaign aimed at getting more people to use seat belts is officially underway in Indiana. According to the Indiana State Police, its troopers will be joining officers with 250 other departments throughout the state in the effort. The campaign runs through June 4.
According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, which has procured federal funding for the program, there were 827 people killed on Indiana roads in 2016. Of those deaths, 36 percent involved persons who were unrestrained.
The most recent statistics available from the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration, the national useage rate for seat belts was 88.5% in 2015 and of the 35,092 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2015, 48 percent were not wearing seat belts. A 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control showed seat belt usage at 94% among drivers and front seat passengers in Indiana.
Indiana State Police Seargent Ron Galaviz believes 94% is not enough.
“Because we haven’t hit 100%,” he said. “With six percent of people out there who are not wearing it, they’re putting themselves in danger every time they do that regardless of what their reason is. So very simply, It’s not about writing tickets. It’s about saving lives.”
Indiana amended its seat belt law in 2007 to mandate all passengers wear the safety devices. The law also closed a loophole allowing those in pickup trucks to be exempt from enforcement.