Belts Can Save If You Wear Them E-mail
Every commanding officer in the country knows that too many of their officers, deputies and troopers don't put on their seat belts when out on patrol or responding to a call.

An incident in the Kansas City Police Dept. is just one of many where officers were injured on duty because they had not put on their seat belts.

The calamity occurred when a suspected drunken driver ran a stop sign and slammed into the side of a Kansas City patrol car in December, knocking one of the officers unconscious. Video from the patrol car's interior revealed that the officer's head most likely knocked against his partner's. Neither officer was wearing his seatbelt.

In every state, not wearing a seat belt is against the law, and most every law enforcement agency in the country requires their officers to buckle up when they are behind the wheel of a department vehicle.

But everyone knows that some officers refuse to put on their seatbelt because of the danger of their gun belt getting tangled with the seat belt.

Kansas City Police Chief Jim Corwin doesn't accept that as an excuse. "Of all the people in the world, we should be the first ones to understand that seatbelts do save lives," he said. The problem is not unique to Kansas City.

A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that at least 42 percent of police officers killed in vehicle crashes nationally over the past 30 years were not wearing seat belts. The study also found that fatal traffic crashes were the leading cause of death for officers across the country last year for the 13th consecutive year.

After three unbuckled Las Vegas police officers died in crashes in 2009, that department launched a campaign to convince its officers to buckle up.


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