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Citrus Heights police crackdown on seat belt violations underway

Citrus heights police, raleys, crash.
File photo, an Aug. 18, 2015, head-on collision behind Raley’s in Citrus Heights.

By Stacey Hanks–
If you don’t use your seat belt, this might be a good time to start.

With the national seat belt safety “Click it or Ticket” campaign running May 21 through June 3 to coincide with Memorial Day weekend, the Citrus Heights Police Department and agencies around the state will be enforcing a “zero tolerance” policy regarding seat belt enforcement laws.

Local police, along with sheriffs deputies and California Highway Patrol officers, will be taking a no-excuses approach to the seat belt law and will be “writing citations night and day,” police said in a news release announcing the campaign. The minimum penalty for a seat belt violation in California is $162.

According to statistics cited by police, nearly half those killed in passenger vehicle collisions in 2016 involved unrestrained occupants, with that number rising to 56% at night. That nighttime increase is why police say one focus of the campaign will be night enforcement.

“Buckling up is such a simple task that can keep you and your family safe in the car,” said Chief Ron Lawrence of the Citrus Heights Police Department. “But it’s more than that, buckling up is the law.”

In 2016, the department said 16 people in Sacramento County were killed because they did not buckle their seat belts. Statewide, 426 people were found to be unrestrained at the time of the collision, of which 74 would have likely survived if they had put on a seat belt, police said.

“If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits,” said Lawrence. “Help us spread this life saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction.”

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