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Click it or ticket? Some law enforcement agencies let violators slide

Posted November 26, 2013

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— Law enforcement officers will be scouring the streets this holiday season, searching for seat belt violators. But WRAL News found that the likelihood of getting a ticket depends on which agency makes the traffic stop.

By far, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol writes the most seat belt tickets, more than 146,000 over the past two years, and troopers are the least likely to let seat-belt violators slide. State records show they wrote tickets 96 percent of the time when they pulled over motorists suspected of going unbuckled.

“The Highway Patrol is very stringent when it comes to the seat belt law,” spokesman Sgt. Jeff Gordon said. “If we see somebody who's not wearing a seat belt, we're going to stop you and we're going to cite you for that. We want everybody to buckle up, because it does save lives.”

Sheriff's deputies conduct checkpoint Agencies vary on ticketing seat belt violations

WRAL News found a large disparity in the rate of citations elsewhere. Morrisville and Fuquay-Varina officers wrote tickets nearly 85 percent of the time they spotted seat belt violations. The rate dropped to nearly 72 percent for Wake County sheriff’s deputies and nearly 57 percent for Raleigh police.

Drivers had a much better chance of evading a ticket from Durham police, which has a 51 percent citation rate. Fayetteville police cited 45 percent of drivers, while Person County sheriff’s deputies cited 26 percent.

Governor's Highway Safety Program Director Don Nail acknowledges some agencies are reluctant to issue seat belt tickets, especially since the cost jumped from $25 to $161.

“They feel like they're putting a burden on someone,” he said. “(But) bottom line, we think the citations need to be issued.”

Nail says he believes it takes both enforcement and education to protect the public. He says one alternative under consideration is allowing first-time offenders a chance to take a safety class in exchange for waiving the $161 ticket.

Seat belt stop statistics – Jan. 1, 2012 - Nov. 26, 2013

Data courtesy of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts

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69 Comments

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  • really02 Nov 27, 2013

    And for the record, I do NOT think there should be a seat belt law. Never have! I think it should be up to the individual. I feel the same way about the helmet laws. I'd still buckle up, regardless or wear a helmet, but that's just me. I think everyone should decide for themselves.
    Click to view my profile Strawberry Letter 23 BETH WILSON
    November 26, 2013 6:43 p.m.

    If last post gets commented , I retract it. Every person has the right live how they want to.

  • really02 Nov 27, 2013

    I remember when they FIRST had this new law, they would ask for your social security number! LOL! I got pulled and the state trooper, prior to writing me a ticket, asked for my social security number. I gave it to him.

    But I always buckle up now. 100% of the time. Not because it's "the law" but because I do feel safer.
    Click to view my profile Strawberry Letter 23 BETH WILSON
    November 26, 2013 6:42 p.m

    So you let the government decide what is best for you then?

  • really02 Nov 27, 2013

    Just another way to create revenue for the state, county, and city governments. They are not interested in lives.
    rscarter2004
    November 26, 2013 6:39 p.m.

    I agree

  • Classified Nov 27, 2013

    “Very clever retort. I've seen that somewhere before.”

    Well if your opinion of our country is as good as you say you need to realize what makes our country great is our freedoms, something that most of us take very seriously.

  • really02 Nov 27, 2013

    When I was in Iraq the first we all did was get rid of all the seat belts. They were in the way.
    All this law is how to get money from people.
    How is not wearing a seat belt heart any other people?
    It does not.
    Get the government out of my life!

  • rachel Nov 27, 2013

    when you put this out there like this-the next morning the police chief of said low ticketing town is going to be yelling his cops now have a quota to meet so they don't look bad-

  • Brian Jenkins Nov 27, 2013

    "As it is, no one is stopping you from escaping this oppression. Bon voyage."

    And as it is he's still entitled to freely speak his mind. Don't like it? Bon voyage.
    Backpacker
    November 27, 2013 3:16 p.m.
    [abuse] Report abuse

    Police absolutely HATE when you enforce your rights to the max. You'll get the condescending question like "you think you're an attorney" and laugh.

  • Brian Jenkins Nov 27, 2013

    So because of seat belt tickets you see America as no better than the old Soviet Union and South African apartheid? Those are places where an actual police state existed. I have a much better opinion of our country than that. If this were an actual police state you would not be free to leave. As it is, no one is stopping you from escaping this oppression. Bon voyage.
    Click to view my profilethepeopleschamp
    November 27, 2013 2:24 p.m.

    When Im traveling on a road in the USA and some guy in a funny suit ask for my papers for a border check FIFTY miles away we are getting there. You DO NOT just wake up to a police state. Then you GED educated cops would catch on too quick and the people would fight.

  • thepeopleschamp Nov 27, 2013

    "Bon voyage." Backpacker

    Very clever retort. I've seen that somewhere before.

  • Classified Nov 27, 2013

    "As it is, no one is stopping you from escaping this oppression. Bon voyage."

    And as it is he's still entitled to freely speak his mind. Don't like it? Bon voyage.

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