Soldotna police tighten seat belt law enforcement

Posted: Friday, June 17, 2005

Signs bearing the safety threat of "Click it or Ticket" have popped up around Soldotna. With the reminder, the signs accompany funds that pay for more hours of police officers on duty.

The Soldotna Police Department qualified for the program grants, which allow for overtime hours equivalent to adding another officer on patrol, primarily for Memorial Day weekend. The grants will continue on a monthly basis.

According to Soldotna Police Chief John Lucking Jr., officers issued citations for 31 seat belt infractions as a secondary offense and a host of other citations as a result of the additional labor hours.

"We're looking at 20 hours per month through January with the focus on seat belts," Lucking said.

Travelers who do not click it up in the name of safety could pay the $15 citation fee or donate that sum to the local emergency response service.

Each person riding in the vehicle is required by law to wear a seat belt, though an officer cannot pull someone over for that reason alone. Sgt. Marvin Towell said the program and signs are good reminders to hook up.

"I think most people wear their seat belts. It should become habit, and a good reminder for everyone," Towell said. "Especially during the summer, people tend to forget."

Of the 10 warning signs in Soldotna, four are permanent.

Towell said that since wearing a seat belt has become mandatory in the state, more people than ever are wearing them.

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