Seat belt crackdown planned

Nighttime enforcement will be emphasis

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Law enforcement throughout Clark County will send out extra nighttime patrols between May 23 and June 5 to crack down on drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts.

Police departments in Vancouver, Washougal, Battle Ground, La Center, and Ridgefield will team up with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol to issue infractions to those either not wearing seat belts or wearing them improperly.

Lowell Porter, the director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, said in a press release that police officers prefer not to write seat belt infractions but greater enforcement is necessary to promote safety on the road.

“The evidence is clear that seat belts save lives,” Porter said. “By increasing seat belt use, Washington continues to reduce the costs incurred by those who don’t buckle up.”

From 2005 to 2009, 2,866 people died and 13,749 were seriously injured in vehicle collisions in the state, reported Kristina Moy, a representative for the Traffic Safety Commission. Since 2002, traffic deaths in Washington have dropped 32 percent and serious injuries have fallen 27 percent, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

“In spite of these dramatic strides, we can’t afford to waiver on seat belt enforcement now,” Moy said in a press release.