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This Memorial Day weekend, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the LAPD have a message for drivers: wear your seat belt or face a $142 ticket.
Add $445 for each child under the age of 16 not buckled up.
As part of the nationwide “Click it or Ticket” campaign, officers across the country – including L.A. — are gearing up for increased enforcement of seat belt violations over the holiday weekend. Officials hope that the programs, intended to educate the community, will prevent serious injuries.
“Usually, with traffic collisions, it’s unintentional, nobody wants to get into an accident,” Officer Loi Hinh of the LAPD West Traffic Division said. “With crime, a person has an M.O. (modus operandi) but with traffic, it’s just all over the place and things just happen.”
Last year, between May 28 and May 31 the LAPD’s West Traffic Division issued more than 412 tickets for everything from seat belt, speeding or cell phone violations, to citations for driving without a valid license during the three-day weekend, Hinh said.
In the neighborhoods of Wilshire and Hollywood alone, the LAPD recorded 30 DUI arrests and more than 55 collisions – seven of which were DUI related, Hinh said.
If you have to be on the road this weekend, officials recommend planning a safe way home before celebrations begin. Designate a sober driver or simply call a taxi, and if you see someone you suspect of driving drunk, call 911.
DUI enforcement this weekend will include three sobriety checkpoints and two increased “saturation” patrols in areas where there are frequent DUI arrests or accidents, Hinh said.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Click it or Ticket” headquarters, nationally there has been a 25 percent decrease in fatal traffic accidents since 2005. It was that year California stepped up its efforts with the program, Hinh said.
While on the whole the number of accidents has been decreasing, Hinh said the numbers are usually pretty consistent for the holiday weekend. But this year, high gas prices and the country’s economic situation could cause a reduction in the amount of tourist drivers or an increase in the number of local residents on the road.
Los Angeles County Sheriff spokesman, Steve Whitmore, said while the sheriff’s department won’t necessarily have extra officers in the field, negligent drivers beware.
“[We’ll] be like a laser beam on drivers,” Whitmore said. “People want to celebrate, that’s fine, just don’t drive. Stay home. Go to a friend’s house and stay there. If you are driving, don’t text. Stay off the road.”
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