Salem Police Officers will be participating in three statewide traffic enforcement and safety campaigns. The first kicks off today and goes through through February 17.
The department will be increasing traffic patrols during daylight hours for the purpose of enforcing seatbelt, child restraint violations, speed violations and distracted driving during this two week campaign. This Oregon Safety Belt Overtime Campaign is a statewide selective traffic enforcement program that utilizes Federal funding from the US Department of Transportation. The goal of the campaign is to reduce the number of motor vehicle related deaths and injuries by increasing public awareness of laws regarding the three most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crash injuries: safety restraint use, speed and impaired drivers.
ODOT crash data for 2016 shows lack of safety belt or child restraint use was a factor in 26% or 89 of a total 343 motor vehicle occupant fatalities.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading nationwide cause of death for children ages one through 12. In 2016, 1,992 children under 12 were injured in Oregon traffic crashes, 10 percent were reported as not using a child restraint system. It is estimated that car seats may increase crash survival by 71% for infants under one year old and by up to 59% for toddlers aged one to four. Booster seats may reduce the chance of nonfatal injury among four to eight year olds by 45% compared to safety belts used alone.
Safety belts used correctly can reduce the risk of major crash injury or death by up to 65 percent.
In 2017 an Oregon law was passed requiring children to ride in a rear-facing safety seat until they are at least two years old. A child over age two must continue to ride in a car seat with harness or in a booster until they reach age eight or 4’ 9” in height and the adult belt fits them correctly.
The recent law, which extends the rear-facing requirement from the previous age one to age two, will better protect the child’s head, neck, and spine from potential crash injuries. Research has shown that children in the second year of life are five times less likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash if they ride rear-facing. This is because a rear-facing seat spreads crash forces evenly across the seat and child’s body while also limiting forward or sideways motion of the head.
For help selecting or installing child car seats, consult the seat manufacturer’s instructions, your vehicle owner’s manual, or visit a local child seat fitting station listed at: NHTSA car seat information or at Oregon Impact car seat information.
The Salem Police Department along with the Oregon Department of Transportation encourages all drivers and passengers to make a conscious effort to use their seatbelt at all times when traveling in a motor vehicle regardless of the distance traveled. We are also encouraging the proper use of child safety seats and restraints. Please contact the Salem Police Traffic Control Unit at 503-588-6171 with any questions about traffic safety.