NEW BRITAIN - Nighttime seat belt use in the area is being enforced by the state Department of Transportation in partnership with state, Berlin, New Britain and Stamford police.
The effort is running through Friday, May 18.
“Nighttime seat belt use is a priority for us,” said James P. Redeker, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, in a release. “The percentage of unrestrained deaths in the United States is highest at night. Increasing seat belt usage among occupants who are traveling in the evening could substantially decrease fatality rates.”
Seat belt use in Connecticut among fatally and seriously injured front seat vehicle occupants is 17 percent lower between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to Preusser Research Group, a release announcing the effort stated.
More than 35 percent of serious and fatal injuries in Connecticut occur during those hours, but only an estimated 18 percent of passenger vehicle traffic occurs then. This means less than 20 percent of traffic accounts for more than 35 percent of fatal or serious motor vehicle injuries during those times, the release stated.
“There are a number of factors that contribute to lower seat belt use at night, specifically, the belief that police stop monitoring for seat belt use once it gets dark,” added Trooper First Class Kelly Grant, in the release. “That is certainly not the case, and we’re hoping to get the message out there that occupants should wear their seatbelts day and night. Every trip, every time.”
Connecticut state law requires anyone riding the front seat to wear a seat belt, regardless of their age or time of day, the release stated. In the rear seat, all passengers between the ages of 4 and 16 must be restrained by an appropriate safety system. Drivers not wearing a seat belt, or failing to ensure that fellow passengers are wearing a seat belt, can be charged with a $92 fine.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, in 2015 seat belts saved approximately 13,941 lives.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.