Click it to protect lives, reduce injury, save money

Memorial Day law enforcement mobilization begins May 20

Protecting lives, reducing serious injury and saving Idahoans money may be as simple as clicking a seat belt so will support efforts to increase statewide safety restraint use May 20-June 2.

More than 70 Idaho law enforcement agencies will participate in the high-visibility mobilization effort with officers dedicating extra hours to educate citizens and strictly enforce the state’s safety restraint law during the 14-day period that includes Memorial Day.

“Nearly eight out of 10 Idahoans are buckling up because it’s the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. And, it’s the right thing to do for your family, friends and the community,” said Lisa Losness, with ITD’s Office of Highway Safety. “Failing to wear a seat belt puts you and your passengers at risk for serious injury or death.”

Last year, 73 unrestrained people died in Idaho traffic crashes. State law requires all vehicle occupants to be properly restrained, no matter where they are seated in a vehicle. Fines for violating Idaho’s safety restraint laws range from $10 to $69.

“The people killed are not just numbers. They were family members that never made it home,” explained Losness. “They leave behind families who mourn their loss.”

Decisions to not buckle up also cost Idahoans money. U.S. Department of Transportation studies show that safety restraint use in Idaho saved $371 million in comprehensive costs in 2011 alone. However, the lack of safety restraint use by approximately one in four Idahoans cost citizens of the state nearly $627 million in preventable emergency, medical and social costs.

Recent U.S. DOT estimates show that more than 1,600 lives could be saved and approximately 22,000 serious injuries avoided each year on U.S. roadways if safety restraint use rates increase to 90 percent in every state. The national safety restraint use rate in 2011 was 84 percent, while Idaho’s stood at 79 percent.

Published 5-17-13