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Contact: Lee Buschkowsky, (435) 781-7731
Contact: Al Graham, (720) 403-4212
Jensen, UT & Dinosaur, CO – As the summer kicks off and families hit the road, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Park Service (NPS) are teaming up to increase seat belt use in and around national parks this summer.
On May 6, 2017, local, state, and Federal agencies will host a multi-state press event to educate park visitors about the Federal law that requires the use of seat belts when driving or riding as a passenger in a national park unit. The press event will highlight the agencies’ collaborative efforts to enforce seat belt laws and increase voluntary compliance by motorists in Colorado and Utah; to educate visitors about Utah’s unique seat belt and traffic safety programs supported by the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office. Also, NHTSA’s Associate Administrator Maggi Gunnels and NPS Law Enforcement Chief Charles Cuvelier will present an award to the Dinosaur National Monument staff for their outstanding collaborative traffic safety efforts with surrounding law enforcement agencies, including the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office in Utah, the Utah Highway Patrol, the Colorado State Patrol, and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado.
Chief Cuvelier shares, "The National Park Service is proud to join NHTSA in the ‘Click it or Ticket’ efforts to reduce serious motor vehicle injuries and fatalities. With over a century of serving the public and providing unique sites to visit throughout the United States, we want these experiences to be safe and enjoyable. A visit to our National Parks does not have to end in tragedy so please take the time to ‘Click it!’" NHTSA and NPS began a comprehensive plan in December 2014 to reduce the number of traffic crashes in national park units, and adopted the Toward Zero Deaths strategy. More than 150 parks across the country have joined forces to save lives through education, enforcement, engineering and EMS response.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained, and, in 2016, more than 50% of the vehicle traffic deaths in Colorado and Utah were the result of being unbuckled. Park rangers and partnering law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement in the coming month to ensure residents and Dinosaur park visitors arrive to and from their destinations safely--every trip, every time.
The education and enforcement efforts are strongly supported by the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office, Utah Department of Transportation and Utah's Zero Fatalities program. Law enforcement officers throughout the state are stepping up enforcement of Utah's primary seat belt law on interstates, highways and city streets beginning May 22.
Captain Doug Conrad, Commander for Colorado State Patrol Troop 4B in Northwest Colorado, would like to remind drivers with summer weather approaching to “get out and enjoy this beautiful country we call home and always drive safe, drive sober, and buckle up!”
Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Mark Foust states, “We want to keep our park visitors safe, and make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash - buckling up. If the education and enforcement efforts wake people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving and reminds them to buckle up, we’ll consider it a success. Please help us by making sure every driver and passenger is properly restrained.”
The 2017 CIOT National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization is May 15 - June 4, 2017. For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.