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Rhode Island Police to Enforce Nighttime Seat Belt Use [VIDEO]

The primary seat belt law allows officers to fine motorists $85 for not buckling up at any time of the day.

Rhode Island police have a message for motorists: click your seat belt or face a $85 fine.

Local law enforcement throughout the state will start heavily enforcing nighttime seat belt use. Violators will be fined $85 for each person in the vehicle who is not wearing a belt.

and police departments will be teaming up with State Police starting this weekend on enforcing the new initiative. Tiverton Police Lt. Patrick Jones said they will be out at 7 p.m. Friday night enforcing nighttime seat belt use.

Little Compton Police Chief Sidney Wordell said, like last year, they will be participating in the nighttime "ramp up" effort going into the spring.

Wordell said it is obviously much easier during the day to determine if someone is wearing their belt and the night time effort will be at key locations where lighting provides assistance in enforcements efforts.

"Most often our first contacts with drivers results in a warning, however sometimes citations are the only way to get drivers to comply with the law," he said.

According to DOT, 79 percent of vehicle fatalities in Rhode Island occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. In those crashes, nearly three-fourths of motorists were killed for not wearing their seatbelts. 

The campaign will be the second law enforcement effort conducted under the state's new primary seat belt law. Enacted last June, the statue allows police to fine drivers at any time for not buckling up. Under the prior law, drivers had to be pulled over for another offense before they could be ticketed for not wearing a restraint.

Dan Converse supports the law and spoke from personal experience. The Barrington resident lost his son Jonathan Converse on Nov. 5, 2007 after he was thrown out of a car. The 16-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt. Alcohol use was involved by those in the vehicle.

"I support this law," he said at a Wednesday press conference at the Taunton Avenue Park and Ride surrounded by police officers from communities across Rhode Island. "I would not be standing here if he took one, two seconds to click his seatbelt."

Joe Sousa. March 16, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Thank you State Legislature. We are now a Nanny State.
Mark Wyman March 17, 2012 at 04:21 AM
If the police don't have anythig better to do then sit and watch if people are wearing a seatbelt maybe we have too many cops. Cut out these make work details lay off a few officers and cut the budget.
Sick of Tiverton March 17, 2012 at 02:29 PM
On my way home from Newport last night, the police offficer was in the middle of the road at the intersection with a flashlight checking everyones car as they cam to a stop. I have a feeling this will cut down on other things as well;;;;;
kevin costa March 17, 2012 at 06:30 PM
ALL police have turned their jobs into a PROFITABLE buisness on the tax payers dollar.How can you justify that they are protecting us as they wait in the bushes for something to happen? I see cops hidding at the END of a school zone as so to profit from speeders,what if a child crosses the road and someone hits them....where are the police to prevent this from happening.....in the bushes waiting to profit on a ticket.It is time WE tell them what to do,after all they are supposed to work for us not against us!!!!!!!

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