In addition to regular scheduled hours, law enforcement patrols across the state recently put in extra hours to encourage Montana motorists to drive safe by buckling up. According to the State Highway Traffic Safety Office second quarter reports, the extra efforts are making a difference. From Jan. 1 to March 31, 2007, statewide law enforcement agencies that currently participate in the Montana Department of Transportation Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) worked an additional 2,926 hours. During those overtime hours, 372 citations were issued to motorists driving on Montana roads for not wearing a seat belt, compared to 681 seat belt citations recorded last quarter (Oct. 30 to Dec. 31, 2006). "We are glad to see our efforts making an impact on our motorists," said MDT Director, Jim Lynch. "Buckling your seat belt is easy. Safety belts save lives and reduce the risk of serious injury. Our law enforcement agencies are working overtime to encourage all motorists to drive safe and buckle up." Beginning May 21 through June 3, STEP agencies will also participate in the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign. "As more Montanans take to the roads to begin their summer, we hope drivers and passengers will do their part and buckle up," said Col. Paul Grimstad of the Montana Highway Patrol. The added patrols are funded by a grant from the Montana Department of Transportation’s STEP program. It is designed to give law enforcement additional resources to focus on traffic safety, especially preventing impaired drivers and encouraging the use of seat belts. "We are serious about saving lives, and we want motorists to know officers are on the roads preventing impaired drivers and enforcing Montana’s seat belt law," said Lynch.