The number of people cited for not wearing seatbelts in our state in a recent crackdown could be more than 10,000.
The Wisconsin State Patrol issued more than 6,300 citations and 500 warnings to vehicle occupants who were not wearing their seat belts. George Silverwood, Bureau of Transportation Safety at the DOT says it’s a substantial increase from last year.
“I believe it’s three or four fold what was written last year. It is a large amount.” He says the higher number of citations is indicative of the fact that Wisconsin now has a Primary seatbelt enforcement law.
Silverwood says many of those citations and warnings were the result of extra enforcement during the recent Click it or Ticket campaign (May 24th through June 6th). He says, 375 law enforcement agencies are still compiling their numbers, which means the total noncompliance numbers will be much higher – upwards of 10,000.
Silverwood says one recent citation just might have saved a boy’s life. “An officer in, I believe, Richland Center, stopped a teenage driver, issued a driver citation and the individual started wearing their seatbelt. Within a month they were in a head-on crash at 55 miles per hour. We actually have a letter from the teenager indicating that and obviously glad that he started wearing his seatbelt.”
Wisconsin has one of the lowest seatbelt usage rates in the country. He’s hoping people change their ways. Anecdotally, he says officers are starting to see more compliance with the primary seatbelt law. Pick-up truck drivers seem to be the least likely to wear seat-belts.