Scott County Sheriff’s Office Completes Rural Demonstration Project Aimed at Enforcing Increased Seat Belt Use
Sheriff Dan McClain today announced the conclusion of Indiana’s Rural Demonstration Project (RDP), which began on April 26. The 21-day special mobilization resulted in 130 seat belt tickets, 4 child restraint citations and 21 arrests during the annual enforcement period.
Approximately 15 law enforcement agencies in 14 Indiana counties participated in RDP in conjunction with the Indiana State Police. RDP further increased high visibility seat belt patrols in areas with higher percentages of fatalities that occurred due to non-restraint.
According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI), 18 percent of the state’s total traffic fatalities occurred on rural roadways in 2011. Statistics also show that Americans driving or riding on rural roadways face a much greater risk of being injured or killed than those in urban or suburban areas.
During RDP, officers were on the lookout for unrestrained motorists in all vehicles, including pickup trucks. According to ICJI, pickup truck drivers and occupants account for the lowest percentage of restraint use in the state – with an 84.8 percent seat belt usage rate (among pickup truck drivers) topped by the 94.9 percent seat belt usage rate among motorists in passenger motor vehicles.
“The purpose of high visibility enforcement patrols was to deter risky driving behaviors that pose dangerous consequences both for the driver and other motorists,” said Sheriff McClain. “It is critical that we continue to focus on educating pickup truck drivers and other segments of the driving population, like young drivers, on the importance of seat belt usage, as both groups continue to account for the motorists most impacted by injuries and fatalities that could otherwise be prevented.”
The Rural Demonstration Project (RDP) is an annual traffic safety effort made possible through federal highway safety funds administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). Law enforcement officers around the state concentrate on rural seat belt enforcement in counties found to have a higher percentage of unrestrained fatalities.