Seat belt

ELKHART — Officers from the Elkhart County Traffic Safety Partnership will be increasing seat belt enforcement patrols now through the end of November as part of the national Click It or Ticket mobilization.

The department will be joined by more than 250 law enforcement agencies around the state that will be working overtime to reduce motor vehicle deaths and injuries in Indiana, officials with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office announced.

The patrols are supported with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds provided by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

Last year, out of the total number of motorists involved in passenger vehicle crashes, 90% were wearing a seat belt. Despite this, unrestrained motorists accounted for more than half of all vehicle fatalities in 2019 (308 out of 565), according to data from the criminal justice institute.

Drivers younger than age 34, particularly young male drivers, were more likely to be found not wearing a seat belt, according to the news release. Additionally, individuals not buckled up in crashes were three times more likely to get injured when the driver was speeding and seven times more likely when the driver was impaired.

Indiana has a primary seat belt law, which allows law enforcement officers to stop and cite drivers and passengers for failing to wear a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for each unbuckled passenger younger than age 16.

When it comes to seat belt safety, the department recommends making sure the lap belt is properly secured across the hip and pelvis, below the stomach. The shoulder belt should be positioned across the middle of the chest and away from the neck — never behind the back or under an arm.

If the seat belt doesn’t fit, or the car is older and only has lap belts, ask the car dealer or vehicle manufacturer about seat belt adjusters, extenders or retrofits, officials stated in the news release.

Additionally, children younger than age 8 must be properly restrained in a federally approved child or booster seat. Parents and caregivers can choose the safest car seat for their child by visiting, or to find a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, who can inspect and assist with the installation of a car seat, visit

The Elkhart County Traffic Safety Partnership includes Elkhart City Police, Goshen City Police, Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office, Nappanee Police Department, Bristol Police Department, and Wakarusa Police Department.

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