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COOS BAY — Officers from the Coos Bay Police Department will join law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon in a Safety Belt Enforcement Campaign from Feb. 3-16.

This is the first of three scheduled safety belt and traffic safety campaigns for 2020. The enhanced enforcement is funded through USDOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The focus of the program is to increase public awareness of the seat belt laws with the goal of reducing traffic injuries and deaths.

As members from the Coos Bay Police Department take to the road during this campaign, they will focus their attention on seat belt violations and child safety seat violations, but will also be watching for drivers who are speeding, texting, and driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Oregon law requires that there be "proper use" of the entire seat belt system with lap belt placed low across the hips and a shoulder belt over the collarbone and crossing the center of the chest. Belts should be free of slack and lying flat with no twists or knots. If necessary, slide the attachment on the doorpost up or down to fit the size of you or your passenger. Shoulder belts should not be placed under the arm or behind the back as this can cause serious internal injuries or ejection in the event of a crash. Safety belts used correctly can reduce the risk of major crash injury or death by up to 65 %.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading nationwide cause of death for children ages one through twelve years old. In 2017, 1,906 children under twelve were injured in Oregon traffic crashes, nine percent were reported 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.

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: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#inspection-inspection or at http://oregonimpact.org/car-seat-resources.htm.

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