BUCKLE UP enforcement

Friday, August 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

There is a new effort to make sure Oklahomans buckle up behind the wheel. News on Six Reporter Emory Bryan says this weekend, lots of people will be out on the roads and police will be out too, checking to make sure people are not drinking and driving - but are wearing seatbelts.

To help encourage seatbelt use, police were out Friday morning, stopping people on the OSU-Tulsa campus, checking for seatbelt usage. They weren't issuing tickets, just handing out T-shirts to those wearing seatbelts and giving gentle reminders to those who were not. Seat belt user, Melissa Lawless, "I was in an automobile accident when I was 16 and I've been taught ever since to wear my seatbelt I've done the same thing every year all my life." Tulsa Police officer CJ Hardaway, "It's a big safety issue, seat belt save a lot of lives in a lot of instances, so it's very important to wear them."

Most of the people who came by Friday morning had their seatbelts on, but more than a few stopped far back from the intersection, and appeared to be slipping them on. The police encourage people to wear them all the time - since accidents happen so quickly - and seat belts make such a difference when they do.

A higher percentage of American's are wearing their seat belts according to a recent government study. In the fall of 1994, only 58% of drivers wore their seatbelts. In June 2001, that number had increased to 73%.