Chilmark steps up seat belt enforcement


Chilmark Police will step up enforcement of seat belt laws as part of a state-wide public safety campaign known as “Click It or Ticket.”

The two-week crackdown begins on May 24 and ends on June 7. It is intended to increase seat belt use and decrease motor vehicle fatalities, according to a press release.

Chilmark Police have joined Menemsha Texaco Station to provide a special treat for child passengers found secured in an age-appropriate child-restraining car seat or seat belt. During the two-week campaign police will reward parents with a coupon that may be redeemed for an ice popsicle at the gas station.

A federal grant administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security funds the effort.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 64 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle crashes in Massachusetts during 2008 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash, nine percent higher than the national average. Police say regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. When worn correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent — and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and mini-vans.