On May 20, traffic police across the state of New York began cracking down on motorists neglecting their seatbelts. The efforts are a part of the Buckle Up New York campaign announced on May 14 by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The campaign will run through June 2 and has been fueled by stark nationwide statistics from 2011. That year, over half of the passenger fatalities in auto accidents were directly related to neglecting a seatbelt.
On May 25, the Lockport police established a checkpoint, not for traffic offenses but for for seatbelt safety. From 3:00 to 6:45 p.m., police issued 25 tickets. One driver was arrested for driving with a suspended license.
Although officers arrested this driver when they discovered this infraction, the point of the checkpoint was specifically to enforce seatbelt laws. Seatbelt neglect and improper child restraints result in many deaths each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the top killer of children under the age of 13 is auto accidents. With as many as 90 percent of child restraints improperly installed, better safety education and enforcement has become a priority.
Many drivers operating vehicles with a suspended or expired license are caught when pulled over for another, minor traffic violation, such as a seatbelt infringement. A charge of aggravated unlicensed operation is a serious traffic offense and can result in heavy fines and even jail time. For those who have experienced such charges, there are options. These individuals can submit a not-guilty plea and go to trial, or they can chose to negotiate for minimal consequences. A lawyer well versed in traffic law may often assist those who find themselves in such difficult circumstances.
Source: Union Sun and Journal, “Police making seat belt checks”, May 26, 2013