This month, the Cassville Police Department will take part in two campaigns designed to decrease the number of fatalities on Missouri roadways.
Local law enforcement officers will take part in an aggressive youth seatbelt mobilization effort from March 15 through March 31. Officers will also work to crack down on drunk driving from Friday, March 16 through Sunday, March 18.
"Local motorists should be prepared for stepped up seat belt enforcement," said Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr. "We'll be out there to remind you seat belts can and do save lives."
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation's (MoDOT) Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, only 67 percent of Missouri teens wear their seat belts when driving or riding in a car.
"Young people are inexperienced and substantially over-involved in traffic crashes," said Leanna Depue, Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety executive committee chair. "Without a seat belt, the combination can be deadly. Seven out of 10 teens killed in Missouri traffic crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
State statutes require teens to wear seat belts. Violations are a primary offense, which means that officers can stop a vehicle solely because the driver or a passenger is not wearing a seat belt.
Drunk driving effort
Last year, 220 individuals were killed and 916 seriously injured in crashes involving an impaired driver. In an effort to decrease these numbers, this weekend, the Cassville Police Department will once again step up its efforts to find and arrest drunk drivers.
"Driving drunk is simply not worth all the consequences," said Kammerlohr. "Our message is simple and unwavering: drive sober or get pulled over."
Individuals convicted of driving while intoxicated can be sentenced to jail time, have their driver's license revoked and be sentenced to the use of ignition interlocks.
Insurance rates for individuals who are convicted of driving drunk increase significantly, and they are often burdened with attorney fees and court costs. Convicted drunk drivers also face lost time at work and the potential loss of their job and job prospects.
For more information on Missouri seatbelt usage or drunk driving facts, visit www.saveMOlives.com.