Medford Police Participating in Safety Belt Enforcement Program to Educate the Public

MEDFORD POLICE TO PARTICIPATE IN SAFETY BELT OVERTIME ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM

News Release from Medford Police Dept.
January 26th, 2024

Beginning Monday, January 29 through Sunday, February 11, Medford Police, along with law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon, will be participating in the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Safety Belt Overtime Enforcement Program. Law enforcement agencies will be using federally funded overtime to educate the public about safety belt and child seat laws including a law passed in 2017 increasing safety for children under age two.

ODOT crash data for 2021 shows lack of safety belt or child restraint use was a factor in 32% or 119 of a total 377 motor vehicle occupant fatalities. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading nationwide cause of death for children ages one through twelve-years-old. In 2021, 1,475 children under twelve were injured in Oregon traffic crashes, 16 percent were reported not using a child restraint system. It is estimated that car seats may increase crash survival by 71% for infants under one year old and by up to 59% for toddlers aged one to four. Booster seats may reduce the chance of nonfatal injury among four- to eight-year-olds by 45% compared to safety belts used alone.

In 2017 an Oregon law was passed requiring children to ride in a rear-facing safety seat until they are at least two years old. A child over age two must continue to ride in a car seat with harness or in a booster until they reach age eight or 4’ 9” in height and the adult belt fits them correctly. The 2017 law, which extends the rear-facing requirement from the previous age one to age two, will better protect the child’s head, neck, and spine from potential crash injuries. This is because a rear-facing seat spreads crash forces evenly across the seat and child’s body while also limiting forward or sideways motion of the head.

For help selecting or installing child car seats, consult the seat manufacturer’s instructions, your vehicle owner’s manual, or visit a local child seat fitting station listed at: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#inspection-inspection

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