Still not buckling up?

Published 12:48 am Saturday, September 4, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Motorists who forget to buckle-up while driving are going to be running into delays over the next two weeks.
The Michigan State Police Niles Post have set up two safety belt enforcement zones in the Niles area. One is at south 11th Street and Fulkerson Road, the other is at Third Street and U.S.-12.
The zones were set up Aug. 30 and enforcement will run through Sept. 12 as part of the statewide Buckle-Up-or-Pay Up/Click-It-or-Ticket safety belt enforcement mobilization.
The enforcement will run in five hour blocks over the course of the enforcement period according to Sgt. Rob Davis of the Michigan State Police. The Niles post has 129 hours dedicated to safety belt enforcement.
The zones will be marked with a sign letting motorists know that they are entering a safety belt enforcement zone.
Inside the zone, a patrol will spot offenders and radio ahead to units waiting down the road that will intercept offenders and write them tickets, Davis said.
Over the first three days of enforcement, 70 tickets have been written to violators, according to Davis.
Typically, there are two safety belt mobilizations a year, usually taking place around the Thanksgiving and Memorial Day holiday weekends. This Labor Day holiday mobilization is an extra third one, Davis said.
The goal of the mobilization is a statewide compliance of 90 percent of motorists wearing their safety belts.
Last year, safety belt compliance was 84 percent and so far this year, compliance is 87 percent, according to Davis.
Compliance in the zones is high so far, according to Davis. Based on visual surveys of cars passing through the zones, about 90 percent of motorists are wearing their safety belts.
Most of the violators are out-of-state drivers from Indiana, Davis said.
This Labor Day weekend, the MSP will also participate in the nationwide Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) safety initiative.
Operation C.A.R.E. focuses on preventing the three main causes of traffic fatalities: speeding, impaired driving, and failure to use occupant restraints.
During the holiday weekend, which officially began at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and runs through midnight, Monday, Sept. 6, all patrols will be dedicated to the enforcement of Operation C.A.R.E., according to Davis.
Davis said that traffic safety all boils down to motorists being responsible drivers.