Suffolk buckles up

Published 10:53 pm Saturday, October 8, 2011

SPD recognized for seatbelt campaign

The Suffolk Police Department has won recognition from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Highway Safety Office for helping the city achieve the highest usage of seatbelts for agencies of comparable size in the region.

During the statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which ran May 22-June 5, the department wrote 288 summonses for seatbelt violations and 41 summonses for child safety seat violations.

Officers set up at a location within the city before and after the two-week public service campaign and counted cars and the seatbelt wearers in them.

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During the two-week program, the department used educational announcements in the media, as well as stepped-up enforcement, to convince people to wear their seatbelts.

At the end of the campaign, Suffolk had a usage level of 89 percent, compared with 81.8 percent in the rest of the region, according to a city press release.

The Click It or Ticket campaign is used in 18 other states and the District of Columbia. In previous Click It or Ticket campaigns, the occupant restraint usage rate increased by more than 10 percent, meaning that thousands of previously unbuckled drivers and passengers began using safetybelts and child safety seats, officials said.