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Kent Police plan seat belt patrol emphasis May 21-June 3

Kent Police will put extra patrols on the streets May 21 to June 3 to enforce the state seat belt law. - COURTESY PHOTO
Kent Police will put extra patrols on the streets May 21 to June 3 to enforce the state seat belt law.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO

Kent Police will have extra patrols May 21 through June 3 to enforce the state's seat belt law.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Washington’s primary seat belt law. An estimated 1,010 lives have been saved since the initiation of the law requiring drivers and passengers to buckle up, according to a Washington Traffic Safety Commission media release.

To mark the occasion and maintain this trend, officers throughout northwest Washington are conducting Click It or Ticket patrols.

Thirty-eight agencies from King, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties will have officers out looking for unbuckled drivers and passengers.

“We are getting the word out to remind everyone to buckle up so we don’t have to write tickets,” shared Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick, the former Mill Creek state representative who sponsored the 2002 legislation. “The purpose of the law is to save lives and I’m really pleased to see how far we’ve come.”

Washington state is a leader in seat belt use in the United States with 97.5 percent of motorists buckling up, an increase from 82 percent in 2002 when the primary law went into effect. With the rise of seat belt use, traffic deaths statewide have declined by nearly one-third, from 658 in 2002 to 455 in 2011 (preliminary data).

Despite these promising numbers, four out of every 10 people who died in car crashes in Washington in the last five years were not wearing seat belts.

Traffic safety task forces in the five counties are coordinating the Click It or Ticket patrols with support from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Participating law enforcement agencies in King County include:

Auburn, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Burien, Covington, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Pacific, Redmond, Renton, SeaTac, Seattle, Snoqualmie and Tukwila Police Departments and the Washington State Patrol.

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