Natrona County law enforcement will enhance its traffic patrols with an emphasis on seat belt use that began Monday and will continue through June 3, according to a news release from the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

“Buckling up is a simple a task, one that can keep you and your family safe in the event of a crash,” said Casper Police Sgt. Jeff Bullard.
"Buckling up is the law," Bullard said. "Our law enforcement officers see the costs of not buckling up. We see the tragic loss of life which could’ve been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt. If the tickets and citations awaken people to the dangers of unrestrained driving, we’ll consider it a success.”

Participating law enforcement agencies working during the weeks before and after the Memorial Day holiday will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night, according to the news release.

In Natrona County in 2016, three of the four passenger vehicle fatalities did not buckle up, Bullard said. In 2015, it was 12 out of 16, or 75 percent, he said.

Nationwide, nearly half, or 48 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That rose to 56 percent at night, which is why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement, according to the NHTSA.

Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates, too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2016, 52 percent were unrestrained compared to 40 percent of females who were not wearing their seat belts.

"If you know someone who doesn’t buckle up when they drive or ride, please ask them to consider changing their habits," Bullard said.

"Help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction," he said. "Seat belts save lives, and everyone, front seat and back; child and adult, needs to remember to buckle up: every trip, every time."

Along with the "click it or ticket campaign," the Wyoming Highway Patrol urges drivers to to report suspected drunk drivers by calling the Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately (REDDI) hotline number (800) 442-9090. Callers should be prepared to provide the dispatcher with a description of the vehicle, its location, and direction of travel.