PORT ORCHARD — Kitsap County motorists, be on alert; law enforcement agencies throughout the county and Washington state will be placing special emphasis on seat belt and proper child restraint use during patrols through June 3.
In Kitsap County, police departments in Port Orchard, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Suquamish Tribal, Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Keyport, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol will be looking to make sure motorists are obeying seat belt and child-restraint laws. More than 150 law enforcement agencies in the state will be participating in the 17th annual Click It or Ticket campaign.
According to a news report from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Kitsap County is on par with the state with an observed seat-belt use rate of 94.7 percent. And on May 21, a national seat-belt enforcement effort called Border to Border will be conducted that day from 4-8 p.m. It is a national seat-belt awareness event involving states across the U.S., including Washington.
Washington passed a secondary seat belt law in 1986; the seat belt use rate that year was 36 percent. In the following years, Washington’s seat belt use rate rose. By 2002, the rate was 82 percent. That year, Washington passed a primary seat belt law and the seat belt use rate rose to 92 percent the following year.
According to the commission, the unrestrained fatality rate decreased dramatically, dropping from 64 percent of all traffic deaths to 18 percent of all traffic deaths.