DATE: Monday, March 30, 2015
SUBJECT: VCSO and EPD Receive Rural Roadway Enforcement Grant
RELEASE NUMBER: 2015-NR-022
CONTACT: Lt. Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding
The Evansville-Vanderburgh County Traffic Safety Partnership (which consists of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office and the Evansville Police Department) will be participating in Indiana’s 2015 Rural Demonstration Project (RDP). The RDP is a campaign aimed at increasing seat belt usage in rural communities. The campaign begins on Sunday, April 5 and runs through Saturday, April 25. During this three-week period, 21 local law enforcement agencies throughout the state will increase high visibility seat belt patrols.
According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI), approximately 460 Hoosiers were killed on rural roadways in 2014; almost 64 percent of the state’s total traffic fatalities last year. Statistics show that Americans driving or riding on rural roadways face a much greater risk of being injured or killed than those driving or riding in urban or suburban areas.
During the RDP, sheriff’s deputies and police officers will be looking for unrestrained motorists in all vehicles, including pickup trucks. ICJI research shows pickup truck drivers and their occupants account for the lowest percentage of restraint use in the state – with a 79.2 percent seat belt usage rate (among pickup truck drivers) compared to 93 percent seat belt usage rate among motorists in passenger motor vehicles.
“The purpose of high visibility enforcement patrols is to deter risky driving behaviors that pose dangerous consequences both for the driver and other motorists,” said Sheriff Dave Wedding. “It is critical that we continue to focus on educating pickup truck drivers as well as younger drivers about the importance of seat belt usage. Both of these groups are statistically the least likely to buckle up and therefore the most likely to suffer injuries that could otherwise have been prevented.”
The Rural Demonstration Project (RDP) is an annual traffic safety effort made possible through federal highway safety funds administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). Law enforcement officers in several areas throughout the state will concentrate seat belt enforcement efforts in 19 Indiana counties found to have a high percentage of unrestrained fatalities.
Pictured above: Scott Township Fire Department and VCSO wait for a wrecker to arrive at the scene of a 2012 crash on Old State Road. The driver was wearing his seatbelt and escaped serious injury.
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