From the New York State Police: Today, New York State Police Deputy Superintendent Field Command, Colonel Thomas L. Fazio and New York State Parks Police Chief Richard O’Donnell, joined by Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey, Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Chair Barbara J. Fiala,encouraged motorists and passengers traveling to state parks to “buckle up” for safety.
This initiative partners the New York State Police and the New York State Park Police in an enforcement and educational campaign designed to ensure the proper use of seatbelts by motorists and passengers traveling to state parks.
Additionally, the initiative will also emphasize the importance of properly securing our youngest park visitors in approved child safety seats. Despite the overall success of the recent “Click it or Ticket, Buckle Up New York” campaign, a subset of non-compliant motorists still exists. The State Police and Park Police have noticed a disturbing trend of lower seatbelt and child restraint use near state parks located outside large urban areas.
This joint summer enforcement initiative seeks to increase compliance and raise awareness of this issue.
On July 14, 2012, New York State Troopers and New York State Park Police Officers conducted a Buckle Up New York seatbelt and child safety seat checkpoint in Lake Welch Beach State Park. For four hours, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, the detail checked hundreds of vehicles for proper safety restrain use and compliance. As a result, 197 tickets were issued of which 185 were for child restraint violations.
Since New York State became the first state in the nation to enact a primary seatbelt law, effective January 1, 1985, countless lives have been saved. The seatbelt compliance rate has steadily increased, reaching a record level of 91 percent in 2011. However, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages one through 12. Based on NHTSA crash data in 2010, almost an average of two children (age 12 and younger in a passenger vehicle) were killed and 325 were injured each day. This fatality rate could be reduced by about half if the correct child safety seat were always used.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, “As the summer travel season continues, the State Police, State Parks Police, and our law enforcement partners strongly encourage the proper use of seat belts and child safety seats in motor vehicles. By simply buckling-up, motor vehicle occupants dramatically reduce their risk of severe injury or death if involved in a motor vehicle collision. We will be working diligently to promote proper seatbelt use and compliance, and reduce the senseless tragedies caused by people who ignore the seat belt laws."
“The protection of children is a priority for State Park Police officers,” said Chief Richard O’Donnell of the New York State Park Police. “Our officers enforce the vehicle and traffic law and State Park regulations to protect visitors from the dangerous conduct of others. I urge all parents and guardians to protect their own children by not allowing them to ride in overcrowded vehicles and by ensuring that every child is wearing a seatbelt or riding in an appropriate child safety seat.” “New York State’s magnificent park system attracts more than 57 million visitors each year,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey.
“With the vast majority of visitors traveling to our parks by motor vehicle, it is critical that parents and drivers make certain that children riding in cars are protected by wearing a seatbelt or being secured in a child safety seat. Understanding the importance of ‘Buckling Up’ will help families safely enjoy their park experience this summer and seasons ahead.”
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala said, “While travelling to or within one of our state parks, people sometimes believe there is no reason for them or their passengers to wear seat belts. That is not the case. Seat belt use, particularly for children, is an important element to assure individual safety whether travelling on a busy highway or on a quiet park roadway. The message is clear – protect yourself and those you love by buckling up every trip, every time.”
This event coincides with one of the peak times that visitors travel to state parks throughout New York State, and our goal is for motorists and their families to arrive and depart safely. Increasing seatbelt use is one of the most effective ways to reduce crash related injuries and fatalities. Ensuring motorists adhere to proper child restraint laws will, no doubt, protect the lives of many that cannot speak for themselves.