AZ officers to look for use of seat belts

YUMA, Ariz. – Representatives from the Arizona Department Of Public Safety say they have launched “Buckle Up Arizona,” a two week campaign meant to encourage seat belt safety.

“It is built to keep you safer in the violent event of a collision,” Sergeant Eric Egan said.

Yet traffic accidents are the leading cause of injury deaths in the U.S., a statistic Egan said could be lowered with the simple click of a seat belt.

“The first fatal collision that I ever investigated, the driver that was killed wasn’t wearing his seat belt and ended in the passenger’s side of the pickup truck,” he added.

DPS kicked off “Buckle Up Arizona” on Monday. Officials say the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety provided them with a 14,000.00 dollar grant to make it possible. The money pays for overtime so officers can be out in full force. Arizona has a secondary seat belt law, meaning officers can only give out a citation during traffic stops for other violations.

Egan said that is no excuse not to buckle up.

“There’s not since to not do it. It only takes a second to do and a second to take it off when you get to your destination, but the impact that it has on the safety of you and the occupants in the vehicle. I hope to think people that people do it just because they want to live.

DPS officials said “Buckle Up Arizona” also focuses on child restraint violations. Children who weigh less than 80 pounds must be in a car seat.

“Buckle Up Arizona” wraps up on May 31st.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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