Seat belt emphasis cites 247 drivers in Spokane County | Crime
A recent seat belt enforcement patrol issued 247 tickets to drivers in Spokane County. During May 21st and June 3rd, extra patrols from eight agencies in the county focused on unbuckled drivers using funds from a Washington Traffic Safety Commission grant.
The numbers for seat belt use is going up since 2002 when the Washington Legislature made the seat belt law a primary offense instead of a secondary. During the past ten years, the number of drivers wearing seat belts increased from 82% to now 97.5% statewide. In Spokane County, that number is only slightly lower than the state, 0.2% less.
“It’s not about writing seat belt citations, it’s about encouraging them to buckle up,” said Karen Wigen, Washington Traffic Safety Commission. She estimates that with every death avoided, they also avoid four serious injuries.
Wigen says the participating agencies logged 313 hours and reached 830 contacts during the campaign. She calls it successful because they also issued five DUIs. During every grant funded patrol, they usually get a few, but she says the five was a good number.
When officers pull over drivers for not wearing a seat belt, it gives them the opportunity to find other violations as well including felony and misdemeanor warrant arrests.
The safety commission provided the exact number of citations during the recent emphasis patrol in Spokane County:
247: No Seat Belt
54: Use of Cell Phone
31: Suspended/Revoked License
22: Child Passenger Safety
8: Felony Warrants
5: Misdemeanor Warrants
5: Driving Under the Influence