Archive for Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Police tighten enforcement of seat belt law

August 22, 2001

As part of the Basehor Police Department's participation in a statewide effort to heighten driver safety, a new emphasis will be placed on seat belt laws while driving in the city.

On Friday, Aug. 17, the Police Department was presented with a certificate from the Kansas Department of Transportation signifying the participation of the city in the KDOT-sponsored Buckle Up, America program.

KDOT law enforcement liaison Mickey De Hook said the program was designed to educate and promote driver safety and seat belt use.

Buckle Up, America is going on across the state. The program is designed to recognize safety belts and child safety seats as an effective way to reduce fatalities and serious injury from car accidents, he said.

"As law enforcement, you wouldn't believe some of the accidents we have seen that could have been avoided by using a seat belt," De Hook said.

De Hook said the most important aspect of the program is providing the correct information to motorists. De Hook said some of the old ways of thinking concerning hand position on the steering wheel and air bags have changed in recent years.

De Hook cited one accident that could have been avoided came when a motorist with an air bag had his hands in the wrong position on the steering wheel.

"When the air bag opened, it pushed his thumbs into his eyes," De Hook said.

The correct position for the hands on the steering wheel is at the nine and three position, De Hook said.

Education about air bags has also changed in recent years. Although the air bag has only been around since the early 1990s, De Hook said it is important for drivers to remember to leave small children in the back seat of the vehicle.

In accordance with Kansas state law, the Police Department will make added efforts to ensure seat belts are being used by motorists in the city, Basehor Police Chief Vince Weston said.

Weston said the Police Department would start conducting seat belt checkpoints in the city within 30 days.

"It is still one of the most obvious violations in the city," Weston said. "It does seem to have improved with younger drivers, though."

Weston agreed with De Hook on the importance of seat belt safety for motorists.

"The main reason for seat belt safety and child restraint is the high probability that wearing them could help avoid traffic injuries or fatalities," Weston said.

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