St. Louis Public Radio News
1:56 am
Wed January 7, 2009

Seat belt use jumps in South County following patrol

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis County Police say they are pleased with the results of a November patrol that looked for people not wearing their seatbelts.

County officers saturated a stretch of Tesson Ferry Road for the last two weeks on the month to publicize a new ordinance that allows drivers to be pulled over simply for not wearing their seat belt. Officers wrote about 900 tickets under the new law in those two weeks.

County Police spokeswoman Tracy Panus says the effort pushed seat belt use on the stretch to 88 percent, from 83 percent before the patrol started.

"It's definitely significant, because St. Louis County has always been in the lower 80s, in that area, in seat belt usage, so, we get a few more people wearing their seatbelts and we're going to reduce the number of injury accidents we see every day," she said.

Panus does not expect those numbers to fall off with less extensive police presence. Knowledge about the law more than quadrupled, accomplishing one goal of the patrol. It's too early to see if the patrol reduced the number of injury or fatal accidents along Tesson Ferry.