LITTLE ROCK —The Arkansas State Police said Friday it will team up with local law enforcement officers to step up enforcement of seat-belt laws Wednesday evening through Monday morning.
“The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest times for travel across the nation,” Arkansas State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant said in a news release. “Our troopers along with other law enforcement officers will be working overtime to ensure the highways and streets are safe by strictly enforcing traffic laws, in particular the seat-belt and child-passenger safety laws.”
Arkansas troopers also will join troopers from California to North Carolina along Interstate 40 to create a law enforcement presence every 20 miles.
During the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday period, 341 vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide, and 50 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts, according to state police.
The agency said research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.
Arkansas state law requires all front-seat passengers, not just drivers, to be buckled up and requires all children under 15 to be properly secured in the vehicle. A child who is under 6 and weighs less than 60 pounds must be restrained in a child passenger safety seat. If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled-up.
The state’s seat-belt law is a primary law, meaning a seat-belt violation alone is sufficient cause for a traffic stop.