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Local law enforcement stepping up seat belt enforcement

Montana Law Enforcement increasing patrols in Havre during Memorial Day Weekend and through the summer. Montanans are strongly encouraged to click it or ticket.

• Local law enforcement and the Montana Highway Patrol are increasing patrols and presence from the end of May through the beginning of June as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Click It or Ticket Enforcement.

• While non-seat belt use is a secondary offense in Montana, wearing a seat belt is still required by law.

• Seat belts are one of the most effective ways to increase your chance of survival in a crash, reducing the risk of death for a front seat occupant by about 45% and serious injury by about 50% per NHTSA.

Havre Police Department and the Montana Highway Patrol encourage all Montanans to buckle up, even for short trips or when driving slowly. Increased patrols and enforcement of seat belt laws will be underway across the state to ensure the safety of all road users. The Havre Police Department, MHP, and the Montana Department of Transportation are committed to public safety, including seat belt safety.

Montana law requires all vehicle occupants to be properly restrained with a seat belt or in a child safety restraint. A ticket can be issued if the driver or any passenger is found to not be wearing a seatbelt. Additionally, if a person in a vehicle who is under 6 years of age and weighs less than 60 lbs. is believed not to be restrained properly, law enforcement agents may require a driver to stop.

"Fastening a seat belt takes less than two seconds," said Havre Police Capt. Ryan Pearson. "It's the simplest and most crucial way to reduce your risk of serious injury or death in a crash. There's a misconception that trucks provide more safety. But seat belts are proven to be even more effective at reducing serious injury and death in a light truck, pickup, or van."

In fact, in 2021, 61% of pickup truck occupants who were killed weren't wearing a seat belt. Of the 73 fatalities due to being ejected from their pickup in 2020, 67, or 92%, were not wearing a seatbelt. Seat belts have a proven record of keeping occupants inside the vehicle, increasing the likelihood of survival in a serious crash.

"Please make a habit of always buckling up," Pearson said. "The more it's second nature, the easier it is to do it all the time. For those driving with children, it's important to model positive behavior by buckling up before starting your vehicle. This encourages children to adopt the habit of wearing a seatbelt and increase their likelihood of surviving a crash."

Montana Department of Transportation - Vision Zero

This is a Vision Zero message from the Montana Department of Transportation. This and other enforcement and educational campaigns are strategies to reach Vision Zero - zero deaths and zero serious injuries on Montana roadways.  For more information about Vision Zero, contact Tammy Ross, Montana Department of Transportation, 406-444-9192 or [email protected]


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