Buckle up, Carroll troopers warn

State police to step up seat belt law enforcement


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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