New statewide campaign cracks down on seat belt usage

DPS is stepping up enforcement of traffic laws, especially on drivers and passengers needing to wear seat belts.
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 3:26 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A statewide operation funded by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety called “Buckle Up Arizona” for several agencies to crack down on the lack of seat belt usage. Arizona Department of Public Safety is one of them who received the $20,000 grant to make sure drivers and their passengers are buckling up. Arizona’s Family rode along with a DPS trooper who pulled drivers over for offenses like speeding or a cracked windshield and witnessed them driving without a seat belt. “It’s a safety thing,” said Trooper Jared Schmidt.

The trooper also explained how cracking down on seat belt usage can prevent deadly crashes. Those crashes pull from a lot of resources for the agency to investigate. “It definitely takes a toll on resources and it limits resources to do everyday police activities once that happens,” said Schmidt. There is also his personal experience. Before he got into law enforcement, Trooper Schmidt said he was not wearing his seat belt when he got into a bad crash. “I have a massive scar on my head that I’ll have to look at every single day of my life,” said Schmidt. “I would say that’s why I stop people who don’t wear seat belts. I was laxed and I don’t want someone else to be laxed,” said Schmidt.

DPS had plenty of DUI enforcement units throughout the weekend; and keeping drivers safe continues into Memorial Day.

As of April 23, Arizona troopers have investigated 103 deadly crashes on highways and interstates in 2023. Of the individuals killed in those crashes, 41 people were not wearing seat belts. The Buckle Up Arizona campaign ends on June 4.