Meet the seat belt police

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Officer Dan Kelley can spot a seat belt from a mile away. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But not by much. On a recent seat-belt and cell phone enforcement sting by Keizer Police’s Traffic Safety Unit, Kelley told us how he spots a seat belt scofflaw. Observing drivers, he’ll note: Is the seat belt stretched out from its base above the driver’s left shoulder? If the occupants are wearing light-colored clothing, does he see the contrast between a dark seat belt and the shirt? And if he sees one of these, is the seat belt buckled properly? If not, that’s a potential citation too. Kelley said people who tuck the seat belt under their arm may be putting themselves at more risk “When it goes under the arm, it goes into the soft portion of the stomach,” Kelley said, with potential organ damage or rupture if there’s a crash. There’s not a profile per se of the seat belt scofflaw, although Kelley said women are more likely to have the seat belt under their arm. Believe it or not, “younger guys tend to do absolutely everything correct so they don’t get stopped. They think we’re out to get them in the first place. … So they want to make sure they don’t give us a reason.” Keizer actually has a very high seat belt compliance...

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