Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Buckle Up or Pay Up

Travelers weren't the only ones hitting the road in high numbers over Memorial Day weekend. State Highway Patrol officers were also out in full force cracking down on the safety belt law.

Ohio Highway Patrol Sergeant Max Norris says such crack downs are effective.

Ohio's safety belt law was initially enacted in 1986 and redefined in 1992. Getting pulled over without your seat belt on today, will put a ticket in your hands and a hole in your pocket. Fines vary depending on the county, but in some areas they can reach as high as $100.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol website, traffic crashes take the lives of thousands and cost billions of dollars each year. But, safety belts can reduce the severity of injuuries and reduce the loss of life and funds. In 1996, it's believed that seat belts saved 321 lives, prevented 20,026 injuries, and saved $893 million in costs.

Last year in Athens, 40% of lives lost were because of traffic crashes where the driver or the passenger were not wearing their seat belt.

Athens MidDay's Linda Ubokudum took a closer look into this issue.

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