Seat Belt Enforcement - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Seat Belt Enforcement

TRI-CITIES, Wash. - In the last two years nearly half of the people who were killed in car crashes were not wearing their seat belts in the Tri-Cities area.

In an effort to reduce those numbers Washington State Troopers are stepping up seat belt enforcement in the Tri-Cities.

Troopers said more lives could be saved if people would buckle up. 

Washington State has a 98 percent compliance rate which is very good compared to other states around the country, but troopers said more can be done.

Washington State Trooper David Wilbur said, "We're used to the blood and guts but we never get used to the next to kin notification.  There is nothing easy about it for anyone." 

Wilbur has been working the roads for 12 years and said he has seen too many deadly accidents. 

He said, "A lack of seat belt use kills.  There is no doubt about it.  I doesn't matter why you crashed once you crash all that matters is if you are wearing your seat belt and the likelihood that will be injured or killed goes through the roof if you are not."

Burbank Residents Daryl and Kim Pelletier received $101 ticket because they were not wearing their seat belt properly however they said they understand why Troopers are increasing enforcement.  Daryl Pelletier said, "If we are in the wrong, then we deserve it."

Wilbur said many people argue about their seat belt ticket and do not feel that they should be forced to wear it. 

Wilbur disagrees, "If writing them a ticket makes them wear their seat belt then that's okay.  If they don't like us that it's okay as long as they are wearing their seat belt and they are not killed in a in a car wreck, that is our ultimate goal."