OSHP to show #039;zero tolerance#039; on seat belt laws

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 3, 2005

SOUTH POINT - Many motorists will be on the roads this holiday weekend - and so will the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

"Motorists can do their part in helping us to save lives, by increasing their focus on their driving," said Lt. Carl Roark, Ironton Post Commander of the Patrol. "We ask them to slow down, buckle up and don't drink and drive. It's all about safety."

Lt. Roark said that they will have all available troopers on the roadway this weekend - no one will be scheduled off. In addition, overtime hours will be distributed among personnel to provide additional troopers on the highways.

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The troopers will be focusing on crash causing violations, aggressive driving behavior, and will be taking a zero tolerance approach on safety belt violations.

"We'll continue to educate people about the importance of seatbelts," he said. "But the enforcement approach will not involve warnings, it will involve tickets."

The OSHP is contributing to the same campaign as in West Virginia and Kentucky - Click It or Ticket - which means there are no excuses for not wearing a safety belt, and if a motorist is stopped without one on, they will receive a citation.

"We want to send a message of zero tolerance as far as safety belt enforcement is concerned," he said.

They will also have a saturation of officers in various areas to patrol roadways where OVI's (drinking and driving) are common. Lt. Roark said that often when people see several officers in one area. It increases motorist's awareness of their driving.

"Because we put those patrols where we see a larger number of crashes occur, we hope to reduce that and save lives as a result," he said.

Last year the OSHP investigated ten crashes during their reporting period which began at midnight on Thursday and lasts through Monday. One of those crashes was alcohol related. Lt. Roark said that their goal is to not have any alcohol related crashes.

Lt. Roark said that on the holidays people are making good decisions; he believes that the education that they have provided and the message about how intense the patrols will be over the holiday has been well-received because they see a lot more designated drivers.

As motorists take to the roadways this holiday weekend, so will the Highway Patrol to protect and serve, and make our county's roadways a safer place to travel.