Local law enforcement supports seat belt use

Local law enforcement supports seat belt use The Vermillion Police Department and the Clay County Sheriff's Office will join other law enforcement agencies in South Dakota and across the nation participating in the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign May 23 through June 5.

A seat belt violation in South Dakota is a secondary action, meaning the motorist must be stopped initially for another violation. A seat belt violation is classified as a petty offense with a minor fine.

According to Vermillion Police Chief Art Mabry, officers don't want to appear to pile charges on a motorist and typically don't issue a second summons for the seat belt violation.

"It's unfortunate that, although the wearing of a seat belt has proven to be a life saver in an accident, people continue to refuse to use them and it is one of the least enforced and fined violations," Mabry said.

"We have not forgotten that eight lives were lost in traffic accidents in Clay County during 2003," said Clay County Sheriff Andy Howe. "Some of those may have been saved by seat belts.

"Not wearing a seat belt is against the law in this state," Howe continued. "We will enforce this law because it's the best proven way to save lives."

Because seat belt usage saves lives, both agencies will continue strictly enforcing seat belt and child passenger restraint violations after the Click It or Ticket campaign is completed.

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