Troopers emphasize seat belt safety

What bothered Tate Moyer the most about getting pulled over wasn't the warning on the minor speeding violation. It was getting charged with not wearing his seat belt. "We're having a day off and I didn't think about it," the Mansfield driver said. "Usually everybody wears them."
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

What bothered Tate Moyer the most about getting pulled over wasn't the warning on the minor speeding violation. It was getting charged with not wearing his seat belt.

"We're having a day off and I didn't think about it," the Mansfield driver said. "Usually everybody wears them."

State Trooper Ryan Thomas said Moyer's reaction is typical when he cites somebody for a seat belt violation, the state Highway Patrol's latest safety emphasis. The Norwalk trooper smiled, recalling that the woman in the passenger seat said she was relieved that she was wearing her seat belt.

Thomas hears many of the same responses from people caught without their seat belts.

"I just forgot or I just pulled out of my driveway a mile or two down the road or I usually wear it," he recalled.

"Believe it or not, there are people out there who say it rubs their necks" and say they don't wear a seat belt because it's uncomfortable, Thomas added.

Lt. Jim Bryan, the Norwalk post commander, has requested troopers emphasize seat belt safety because all three of the people killed this year in Huron County weren't wearing one.

"We've advised our officers not to give warnings for seat belts. If the officer sees the driver not wearing a seat belt, the driver can expect a citation," Bryan said.

Seat belt charges are considered secondary citations, meaning the offender could be charged only after being pulled over for a moving or equipment violation.

A seat belt violation costs a driver a $51 fine through Norwalk Municipal Court. Passengers pay $41. Drivers face a $70 fine if a child under the age of 15 in the back seat isn't wearing a child safety restraint.

Troopers are pushing the new seat belt safety agenda through speaking engagements at schools and civic groups. Bryan also has been an occasional guest on WLKR.

"We're glad to spread the message," he said.

While the Norwalk post had no specific statistics on seat belt violations, Bryan said troopers are citing as many people as they can.

Troopers are expected to perform two traffic stops per hour.

"Sometimes you get that, sometimes you don't," Thomas said.

About half of the stops Thomas initiates during an eight-hour shift result in seat belt violations.

"Most people are content with a seat belt violation, rather than something else," the trooper said. "They're thinking the worst case scenario."

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is based on a recent "ride-along" reporter Cary Ashby did with Trooper Ryan Thomas of the state Highway Patrol.

Comments

Fedup (Anonymous)

Yeah, he can say that because he is a trooper! He doesn't even wear his seatbelt all the time and he doesn't even buckle up his kids! Does he get a citation? I highly doubt it! That is what erks me! These "officers of the law" can give out the citations, but don't abide by them, themselves! Its pretty bad! but typical of them, from what I know and have seen! Why don't they concentrate on the real criminals out there!

Reflector Staff...

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Fed UP Too (Ano...

Yeah no kidding let alone the fact that they always go speeding by you!! I do not thing I have ever seen a Ohio State Patrol car drive the speed limit! When the State Patrol starts to do their job maybe then I will start to do my job!

Bystander (Anon...

I say good for the troopers. I agree that everyone has the right in America to be an idiot, but when they get thrown through their windshield and don't die, the high costs of their medical care are passed on to us all. Stick it to them.

Ihre Mutter näh...

Ja Herr!