Protecting lives and reducing serious injury from motor vehicle crashes may be as simple as clicking a seat belt so the Idaho Transportation Department is supporting efforts to increase Idahoans’ safety restraint use May 16-30.

The effort is part of a “Coast-to-Coast” campaign encouraging all law enforcement to participate in saving lives by increasing seat belt use during this busy travel time.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Idaho will participate in the high-visibility mobilization effort, with officers dedicating extra hours to educate citizens and to strictly enforce the state’s safety restraint law during the 14-day period that includes Memorial Day.

“Nearly eight out of ten Idahoans are buckling up because it’s the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. And, it’s the right thing to do for your family and community,” said Sherry Jenkins, with ITD’s Office of Highway Safety. “Failing to wear a seat belt puts you and your passengers at risk for serious injury or death.”

“Many people tend to think that they don’t need to buckle up,” she said. “They think they are invincible. They are not.”

“Young adults are dying at a disproportionate rate because they are not wearing their seat belts. Men are dying in vehicle crashes twice as much as women, and wearing their seat belts less than women. Pickup truck occupants think that they don’t need to wear their seat belts because they believe their large vehicle will protect them in a crash. They are dying as well,” she explained.

Last year, 93 unrestrained people, including children, were killed in Idaho traffic crashes. State law requires all vehicle occupants to be properly restrained, no matter where they are seated. Fines for violating Idaho’s safety restraint laws range from $10 to $69.

“The people killed are not just numbers. They were family members that never made it home,” said Jenkins. “They left behind families who mourn their loss.”

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