Riverhead Police will conduct a special enforcement action for compliance with seat belt and proper child restraint requirements from May 23 through June 5. Photo: Adobe Stock

Riverhead Police have announced that the national “Click It or Ticket’ campaign to crack down on the enforcement of seat belt violations will begin on Monday and run through June 5.

The two-week, “zero tolerance” enforcement effort is intended to ensure that all motorists and passengers are buckled up and are properly restrained. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 90% of people used seat belts in 2021, an increase of 8% from 2007. Approximately 15,000 lives were saved by seat belts in 2017 crashes. Among people ages 18-34 killed in 2020 in crashes in the United States, 60% were unrestrained.

Riverhead Police also reminded residents that a new New York State vehicle law, which took effect in Nov. 2020, requires that all rear seat passengers of any age must be properly secured. Rear seat passengers are two times more likely to die in a crash if they did not wear a seat belt, Riverhead Police said.

The event is also a reminder to the community on how to properly restrain younger passengers. Children up to the age of four must be properly restrained in a properly installed child safety seat and all backseat passengers under the age of two must be restrained in a rear facing child restraint. Children less than age 4 but weighing more than 40 pounds may be restrained in a booster seat with a lap/shoulder safety belt. However, a child safety seat that accommodates higher weights can be used.

Children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7 must be properly secured in an appropriate child restraint system that meets the height and weight recommendations of the child restraint manufacturer. Children riding in booster seats must be secured with a combination lap/shoulder seat belt.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]