09/03/04 — Law officers will be checking seatbelt use

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Law officers will be checking seatbelt use

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on September 3, 2004 2:24 PM

People ejected from cars during wrecks account for a small number of accident victims, but their deaths are ones that can be prevented, say police.

Goldsboro Police Maj. M.D. Hopper says one person dies every day after being ejected from a vehicle in North Carolina. But 99.8 percent of those not ejected in collisions are not injured, he said.

For that reason, Wayne County authorities are focusing on drivers and passengers who do not wear seat belts during the next statewide "Click It or Ticket" campaign. The semiannual program to urge use of passenger restraints started today and continues through the Labor Day weekend to Sept. 12.

Two Goldsboro police officers, Capt. John Biggins and Sgt. Grayham Keesler, attended the campaign start Wednesday at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh.

Police have received an enclosed trailer, a generator with lights and traffic cones through grants to set up checkpoints. Hopper said traffic vests and signs also were expected.

"We will hold checkpoints all around town," Hopper said. "We won't target any one area, but we will target areas where we have received several complaints."

Highway Patrol troopers from the Wayne County district, sheriff's deputies and other municipal police departments are expected to assist in or conduct their own checkpoints during the campaign.

Highway Patrol First Sgt. T.C. McLeod, the district commander, said his troopers will conduct line patrols on U.S. 70 and U.S. 117 on Friday while motorists are going toward North Carolina beaches and again on Monday on their way home from the last summer holiday weekend.

McLeod said his troopers also will conduct saturation patrols in high-collision areas.

In addition to seat-belt violators, troopers will be looking for speeders, impaired drivers and reckless drivers who create hazardous traffic conditions.

Troopers will not hold any major checking stations during the period because of special assignments and manpower considerations. But McLeod said they would hold numerous driver's license checks.

Hopper said a major checkpoint will be held near Mount Olive. He also said the state's Breath Alcohol Testing bus, or BAT-mobile, will be stationed one night during the period in the county.