Officials are emphasizing seat belt laws in an ongoing effort to save lives.
Marianne Warner, safety press officer for PennDOT District 1-0, said her organization works closely with law enforcement and other safety officials during the current "Click It or Ticket" campaign. They started May 21, she said, and it will run through June 10.
PennDOT has allocated $1.5 million across 600 municipal and state police departments, Warner said, and the funds come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, PennDOT distributes the money which is used for overtime funding.
According to Warner, a PennDOT database indicates where opportunities for increased safety lie. Typically, she said the organization then works with safety partners to make improvements in those areas.
"We know people tend not to wear seatbelts at night," Warner said.
When police participate, Warner said they are asked to enforce seatbelt usage. They are encouraged to write seatbelt citations when appropriate as opposed to issuing warnings, she said, although the police have discretion.
In the first week, Warner said PennDOT has wanted to see some primary seatbelt enforcement. During the second week, she said an emphasis will be on nighttime enforcement.
Car seat checks are another component of the campaign, Warner said, and departments are doing that at the Warren YMCA Safety Fair. She said all law enforcement in the county is participating in the "Click It or Ticket" campaign.
Recent legislation has made primary enforcement of seatbelts possible, Warner said, if the driver is under the age of 18. Known as Act 81, she said the law went into effect in December.