Buckle up, Carroll troopers warn

State police to step up seat belt law enforcement

May 23, 1999|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Beginning tomorrow, state troopers from the Westminster barracks will have "zero tolerance" for drivers transporting unbuckled children, says 1st Sgt. Dean Richardson, a state police spokesman.

Wearing seat belts and securing children in child safety seats is no longer a matter of choice in Maryland. Since October 1997, not buckling up has been a primary violation, meaning troopers can stop vehicles to ticket drivers not wearing seat belts or for transporting unbuckled front-seat pas- sengers.

The seat-belt law also requires that children younger than 16, in all seating positions, wear belts and all children younger than 4 or weighing less than 40 pounds must be secured in a federally approved and properly used child safety seat.

Richardson said troopers will step up enforcement through Memorial Day in conjunction with Operation Always Buckle Children, a national program carried out by thousands of law-enforcement agencies.

According to Richardson, national research indicated 19 million more Americans buckled up last year, the largest single-year increase of seat-belt use in eight years.

The penalty for a seat-belt vio- lation is $25, but an unbuckled or improperly restrained child can cost drivers $48, he noted.

Since April 1, troopers at the Westminster barracks have issued 1,631 citations and 137 warnings for seat-belt violations, Richardson said.

Pub Date: 5/23/99

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