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Saturday
July 31st, 2021

ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

The use of seatbelts is incredibly important for vehicle drivers and their passengers and recently, the Seward County Sheriff’s Department, along with other area law enforcement, completed the Click It or Ticket campaign, which took place from May 21 through 31. 

The purpose of the campaign is to remind people to buckle up every time they get in the car and according to Seward County Undersheriff Ryan Roehr, this most recent campaign went very well. 

“With the campaign this time around, the sheriff's department conducted 47 total stops, among all of those, we issued one citation for a seatbelt violation for a child (0-13), one citation for a seatbelt violation for a youth (13-17), and 13 citations for seatbelt violations for adults, so only 15 seatbelt/restraint violations. During this campaign, we also issued five citations for speeding, two for DUI, two for texting, and 11 for other various violations,” Roehr said. “Going back a little bit, for Seward County, back in 2019, we had 423 traffic accidents, two of which were fatalities, and there were 46 injury accidents among all of those. 88.4 percent were using seatbelts out of all those 423, which is a really good thing because that means people are being responsible at least in that regard. 225 of those accidents were deer accidents, and 194 of those 423 accidents were alcohol-related. As far as child restraints go, back in 2019, for children 0 to 4 years old in Seward County, 98 percent of them had the proper restraint, and with children ages 5 to 9 years old, 89 percent had the proper restraint. Going even further, with children ages 10 to 14 years old, 93 percent of children those ages had the proper restraint, and that was the same number with children 15 to 17 years old. As a total, for people ages 0 to 17, 93 percent had the proper restraints. All of those numbers, again, are from 2019 and we're above average in all age groups when they're compared to the national averages so overall, I feel like these programs we're doing for the state help show us how well we're doing our job and how well that enforcement is going.”

shelter article new 2 sept

Overall, Roehr said, he and the rest of the department are very pleased with how this most campaign went. 

“At this point, I'm very pleased. Just off this campaign, I feel like we're at the same point or maybe even a little better than where we were two years ago, and I feel like our statistics from 2019 were really good. I hope, in two years, that we'll have improved even more,” Roehr said. “The majority of the seatbelt/restraint violations were for adults, we did only have two violations involving children. Overall, we noticed most people were, in fact, wearing their seatbelts, so we were very happy to have to give out only a few citations for those violations. The most rewarding thing about these types of campaigns is connecting with the community not just by traffic stop but in a more personal way than that. I'm not telling my guys to get out there and write ticket after ticket after ticket, we want to help educate people and let them know the benefits of wearing seatbelts.”

Roehr added there are some benefits he sees from campaigns like Click It or Ticket taking place. 

“These campaigns also help us keep in contact with the community not just as a traffic stop,” Roehr said. “We're not just about writing tickets – that's not at all what this is about, it's all about the safety of our community and the people of Seward County and showing them how important seatbelts are and how they can save lives. It's not about writing out tickets, we're truly wanting to help keep everyone safe. No one wakes up knowing if they'll be in an accident one day or another, and like I said earlier, there were 423 accidents in 2019 alone in the county, and out of all of those, only two were fatal, and in the majority of those accidents, everyone was wearing their seatbelt. As far as Seward County, I feel like everyone knows they need to wear their seatbelts, and everyone knows how seatbelts really do help as far as safety and things like that. I feel like if we can keep going that route and see our numbers go down each year, that would be great and I would love to see that happen. ”

With the results of the most recent Click It or Ticket campaign, Roehr said there are now a few new ideas for future campaigns. 

“Social media has been a great resource for us with our campaigns, so we'll continue using that, and we're always happy to talk with local media and have them help us spread the word about what we're doing,” Roehr said. “Even in the days leading up to the campaign's official start, people start consciously putting their seatbelts on, and then that helps it become a habit, so campaigns like this are a really great refresher. The numbers don't lie, and they show if you wear your seatbelt, you have a much better chance of survival if you happen to find yourself in an accident. There will be another campaign that will be going on around Thanksgiving later this year, and I'd like to remind everyone to continue wearing their seatbelts, especially during this time when more people will be more out on the roads who haven't been out for the past year or more.”

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