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More than 300 cited in seat belt emphasis

| August 13, 2020 1:00 AM

A focus by the Idaho State Police on seat belt education and enforcement between July 25 and Aug. 7 resulted in troopers writing 302 citations to motorists found not wearing a seat belt.

“Seat belts are the quickest and easiest way to save a life while driving a motor vehicle,” said Trooper Max Mohr of ISP District 1 in North Idaho.

Mohr said seat belts restrain your body inside the vehicle during a rollover and work in tandem with your vehicle airbags to protect you during impact.

“I have personally seen the amazing lifesaving effects of wearing a seat belt in several vehicle rollovers,” he said. “Unfortunately, I have also witnessed several, not so lucky motorists who decided not to take a brief second to click their seat belt. I strongly encourage everyone to buckle their belts to protect themselves and their family.”

Enforcement of Idaho’s seat belt law is considered a secondary violation as drivers must be stopped for suspicion of violating another law.

A seat belt citation is $10 in Idaho.

In Idaho, seat belt use is lower than the national average, at 85%. According to the Idaho Office of Highway Safety, nearly two-thirds of people killed in motor vehicle crashes are not properly restrained. The majority of those killed are on rural roads.

According to NHTSA, the national use rate for seat belts was 90.7% in 2019. NHTSA data for 2017 shows nearly 15,000 people survived crashes because they chose to buckle up.