Walters PD buckles down on seatbelt law

WALTERS, OK (KSWO) - The Walters Police Department is taking part in a seatbelt campaign aimed at making sure teenagers are wearing their seatbelts. The campaign started on Monday and goes until March 9th.

Walters Police Department is being extra vigilant 30 minutes before and after school every day to make sure teens are buckling up. Officer Ben Lehew, with the Walters Police Department, said people aren't good about wearing their seatbelts. He said the problem isn't just in Walters, but everywhere. They're trying to do something about it with this seatbelt enforcement emphasis.

"It's not so much a punishment when we stop an individual and say, 'wear your seatbelt.' It's an education moment for us," Lehew said. "We get to educate that person about the necessity of wearing their seatbelt and how that seatbelt could save your life one day."

According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, in 2016, 38 teens lost their lives in car crashes. They said, if they would've had their seatbelt on, it would have increased 21 of those teens chance of survival.

Lehew said it doesn't matter how far you're driving; you should always buckle up.

"Accidents usually happen within a couple miles of your house. Even in small speed accidents, a seatbelt is very important to save your life and keep you from being injured," Lehew said.

He said it's not about the small fine the driver will pay if they're caught without their seatbelt.

"It's not about thinking, 'hey I can afford to do this.' It's about getting in the habit of every trip, every time. 'I need to put that seatbelt on.' It's going to save your life in the end," he said.

Because of the seatbelt emphasis, they're not giving warnings to those who aren't buckled up. The fine for not wearing your seatbelt is around $20.

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