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Police Plan Crackdown on Seat Belt Violators

May 7, 2008 — People who don't wear seat belts are breaking the law, and the V.I. Police say they are not going to let them get away with it.
A Click it or Ticket enforcement campaign will begin May 12 and run through June 1, according to an announcement Wednesday by Rodney Querrard, police chief for the St. Thomas District. He gave facts and statistics about the importance of using seat belts and child safety seats at a press conference at the Police Operations Office in Hannah's Rest on St. Croix.
"The bottom line is seat belts save lives," Querrard said. "It is the police department's responsibility to make sure people's lives are safe."
Passenger car occupants who are completely ejected from the vehicle are more likely to be killed, according to police statistics. Safety belts are effective in preventing total ejection, Querrard said. When crash victims are unbuckled, their medical treatment costs average 50 percent higher than those who are securely buckled. A safety-belted driver has a better chance of maintaining control of the vehicle during and immediately following a collision, protecting passengers and others on the road, Querrard said.
Officers also addressed the issue of children who aren't properly restrained.
"We see kids standing in moving vehicles, and that is unacceptable," said Cpl. Ludrick Thomas from the St. Thomas / St. John / Water Island District. "We will be out enforcing that law."
Motorists need constant reminders to protect children, Thomas said. Children under the age of five should sit in specially designed car seats that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. Children ages three to five could use seat belts, but only in the back seat.
A media representative brought up the question of ticketing drivers of pickup trucks with passengers in the truck bed.
"Proper seating and railings are required," Sgt. Charles Orange said. "We will definitely enforce it, too."
The fine for the first seat belt offense is $25 for each passenger unbuckled, plus the driver.
"Some people think nothing of the $25 ticket," Orange said. "We need to get the legislature to raise the fines."
Based on the number of fatal and serious accidents, various checkpoints will be set up on each island. In St. Thomas some of those checkpoints will be on Veterans Drive, in Red Hook, on Smith Bay Road and on Rhymer Highway. On St. Croix, the checkpoints will be set up on Melvin Evans Highway, the Sunny Isle intersection, Golden Rock and the Hannah's Rest area.
"Our focus is to decrease injuries at all times," Thomas said.
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May 7, 2008 -- People who don't wear seat belts are breaking the law, and the V.I. Police say they are not going to let them get away with it.
A Click it or Ticket enforcement campaign will begin May 12 and run through June 1, according to an announcement Wednesday by Rodney Querrard, police chief for the St. Thomas District. He gave facts and statistics about the importance of using seat belts and child safety seats at a press conference at the Police Operations Office in Hannah's Rest on St. Croix.
"The bottom line is seat belts save lives," Querrard said. "It is the police department's responsibility to make sure people's lives are safe."
Passenger car occupants who are completely ejected from the vehicle are more likely to be killed, according to police statistics. Safety belts are effective in preventing total ejection, Querrard said. When crash victims are unbuckled, their medical treatment costs average 50 percent higher than those who are securely buckled. A safety-belted driver has a better chance of maintaining control of the vehicle during and immediately following a collision, protecting passengers and others on the road, Querrard said.
Officers also addressed the issue of children who aren't properly restrained.
"We see kids standing in moving vehicles, and that is unacceptable," said Cpl. Ludrick Thomas from the St. Thomas / St. John / Water Island District. "We will be out enforcing that law."
Motorists need constant reminders to protect children, Thomas said. Children under the age of five should sit in specially designed car seats that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. Children ages three to five could use seat belts, but only in the back seat.
A media representative brought up the question of ticketing drivers of pickup trucks with passengers in the truck bed.
"Proper seating and railings are required," Sgt. Charles Orange said. "We will definitely enforce it, too."
The fine for the first seat belt offense is $25 for each passenger unbuckled, plus the driver.
"Some people think nothing of the $25 ticket," Orange said. "We need to get the legislature to raise the fines."
Based on the number of fatal and serious accidents, various checkpoints will be set up on each island. In St. Thomas some of those checkpoints will be on Veterans Drive, in Red Hook, on Smith Bay Road and on Rhymer Highway. On St. Croix, the checkpoints will be set up on Melvin Evans Highway, the Sunny Isle intersection, Golden Rock and the Hannah's Rest area.
"Our focus is to decrease injuries at all times," Thomas said.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.