Columbia Police Stepping Up Seat Belt Enforcement
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department will have extra officers on the road this weekend to enforce Missouri's seat belt law.
The detail started Friday, Feb. 21 on Rock Quarry Road where police pulled cars over for speeding and then checked for seat belts.
The police department received money from the Missouri Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Devision to make the extra enforcement possible.
"With Missouri having a secondary seat belt law, they have to do another stop first or another reason for a stop to be able to write a safety belt ticket," said Scott Jones, MoDOT senior system management specialist. "We give them funding for seat belt enforcements for traffic enforcement and they can do seat belt tickets if need be."
So far in 2014 there have been 62 road deaths in Missouri and 71 percent of those people were unbuckled. That is a 23 percent decrease from the same time last year.
Officer Scott Decker said not wearing as seat belt is especially common among college-aged students.
"One of the folks I just stopped a moment ago, I asked him why he wasn't wearing a seat belt and he said he was in a rush to get to class," said Decker.
He also said one of the biggest problems he sees is children learning from their parents not to wear seat belts.
"If we're not teaching them from the get-go to buckle up before they move the car, they're not going to buckle up five or six years later," said Decker.
The extra seat belt enforcement runs through Sunday, Feb. 23.