Surveys: Big Isle has second-highest seat belt rate in state 06-30-04

HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
TRAFFIC SERVICES SECTION
SERGEANT RANDY K. APELE
PHONE: 961-2305
JUNE 30, 2004

MEDIA RELEASE

Hawaii County has the second highest rate of seat belt usage in the state, according to statistics compiled by the University of Hawaii during the “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign earlier this month.

During the campaign, held May 24-June 26, the Big Island’s seat belt usage rate was measured at 96.05 percent, second only to that of Maui County, which had 97.2 percent.

In addition, the state had a seat belt usage rate of 95 percent, the first state in the nation to reach that percentage of seat belt use.

The 96.05 percent rate for the Big Island included a 96.38 percent rate for drivers and a 96.03 percent rate for passengers.

Commenting on the county’s high rate of seat belt usage, Sergeant Randy Apele, head of the Traffic Services Section, said:

“We in the Police Department want to congratulate the public for wisely choosing to use their seat belts.

“National statistics have shown that the use of seat belts is the single most effective act that drivers can do to protect themselves in a traffic crash. Of the 85 persons who died in motor vehicle accidents last year in the state, about half of them were not wearing their seat belts.”

Hawaii’s current seat belt law, which took effect in December 1985, requires the buckling up of all front-seat occupants as well as all back-seat passengers under the age of 18. In addition, Hawaii’s child passenger restraint law requires children under four years of age to ride in a child safety seat in the back seat. Violators of the seat belt law face a fine of $77. Violators of Hawaii’s Child Passenger Restraint Law are required to attend a four-hour class and may be assessed a fine ranging from $100 to $500, depending on the number of offenses.

Apele said Big Island police will continue to conduct seat belt checkpoints islandwide to encourage the continued use of seat belts and child restraints.

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