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Be a role model: buckle up

February 27, 2014 | VACP

News Image Virginia’s 2013 observed seat belt use rate is 79.7 percent. This number is helping to save lives on our roadways – but it could be higher, saving even more lives. We want to make sure both our motorists AND our officers are buckling up on every ride, in every vehicle. DMV’s Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO), the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have partnered to encourage all Virginia law enforcement officers to wear their seat belts.

VAHSO, VACP and NHTSA are asking you to join our efforts in improving seat belt use in 2014 by first, wearing your seat belt, and second, enforcing Virginia’s seat belt laws. Our goal is to encourage a greater awareness of the need for and the enforcement of seat belt laws resulting in 100 percent seat belt use rates for both law enforcement officers and the public.

To help you promote belt use inside your department, the VACP created a program called "Wear This, Not This". The program includes posters that feature an image of an officer wearing a seat belt paired with an image of a shrouded badge, the universal symbol marking the death of an officer in the line of duty. The poster’s images are designed to encourage officers to think about the risks they're taking by not buckling up.

If a Virginia law enforcement agency would like "Wear This, Not This" posters to display, contact Erin Schrad at the VACP – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 804-285-8227 (office) or 804-512-5162 (mobile). If agencies have an existing, internal seat belt policy requiring officers to always buckle up, these agencies also have the option of ordering customized "Wear This, Not This" posters from the VACP featuring their own officers. Click here for a gallery of available posters

In addition, VACP continues to accept nominations for its Saved By the Belt and Bag (SBBB) program. SBBB asks law enforcement agencies to recognize either one of their own or individuals who were involved in a traffic crash and, because they were wearing a safety belt or were in a child safety restraint, their injuries were reduced or their lives were saved. Officers and individuals are recognized through the SBBB program with an award and article in the Smart, Safe and Sober newsletter.

Along with VACP’s "Wear This, Not This" and Saved By the Belt and Bag programs, NHTSA is pushing for officers to buckle up through the “Protected to Serve” effort, which also features posters agencies can display. If you are interested in receiving NHTSA’s Protected to Serve posters to display in your agency, please email Melanie Stokes, VAHSO Occupant Protection & Media Coordinator, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Remember, buckling up starts with YOU! Be a hero, be a mentor and be a role model for all Virginia drivers and passengers by always wearing your safety belt!

Melanie Stokes
Occupant Protection & Media Coordinator
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Virginia Highway Safety Office
Office: 804-497-5339
Mobile: 804-314-6668
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)