Riverside Police Department Press Release


For Immediate Release

Date Monday, May 12, 2006
Contact Steven Frasher, Press Information Officer
Phone (951) 826-5147


Riverside, Ca- Police Chief Russ Leach is warning vehicle drivers and passengers that officers will be make special effort issuing tickets to persons not wearing seat belts from May 15 through June 4, 2006, which includes the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. The special enforcement period is part of the state’s “Click It or Ticket” Campaign.

While officers will be writing tickets, the goal is compliance with the law, saving lives and preventing injuries. The 961 vehicle occupants killed in California crashes in 2004 who did not wear seat belts had one thing in common: they did not believe a traffic fatality could happen to them!

“What does it take to convince people to buckle up?” is a question to consider, said Chief Leach. “Taking a few seconds to buckle a seat belt is the most effective thing a person can do to protect their own life.” Chief Leach noted that the maximum fine for seat belt violations for persons 16 and older is $91 for a first offense and approximately $193 for a second offense.

California courts are very serious when children under 16 are not properly secured in a vehicle. If cited, drivers may receive one “point count” on their driving record, with a maximum fine for a first offense of $340, which increases to $871 for a second offense. “These amounts pale in comparison to the costs to society for each death or serious injury that could be prevented by wearing a seat belt,” said Chief Leach.

Seat belt use rate for 2005 in California was 92.5%, however, the 7.5% of the population that fails to buckle up represents more than 2.7 million people.

California ranks seventh nationally in seat belt use. The other six states include Hawaii, 95.3 percent; Washington, 95.2 percent; Nevada, 94.8 percent; Arizona, 94.2 percent; Oregon, 93.3 percent; Michigan, 92.9 percent.

A grant from the Office of Traffic Safety, through the California Business, Transportation & Housing Agency, will fund officer overtime to enforce the seat belt and child passenger safety laws during this campaign.