ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Authorities say they intend to step up their enforcement of seat belt use around Alaska.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded a grant to the Alaska State Troopers, the Anchorage Police Department and the Alaska Highway Safety Office to underwrite the program.
A recent poll indicated that only 61 percent of Alaska's drivers were using seat belts, compared with a national average of 67 percent and 81 percent in Washington state, authorities said.
''I believe Alaskans know in their hearts that seat belts save lives and that wearing seat belts is the law,'' Col. Glenn Godfrey, commander of the Alaska State Troopers, said in a prepared statement.
''What they need to know is that we're serious about enforcing the law. Alaska State Troopers will be clocking overtime hours on a daily basis and will be out in force during upcoming events like the Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival and the Alaska State Fair, enforcing seat belt and child restraint laws.''
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