East Hawaii News

DOH Launches ‘Every Seat Every Time’ Seat Belt Campaign

February 29, 2016, 1:04 PM HST
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car PIXABAYUnbuckled back seat passengers are the focus of a new Hawai’i State Department of Health campaign that was launched Monday.

DOH’s radio public service campaign is the first of its kind in the country, emphasizing the importance of protecting backseat passengers from serious injuries.

In 2013, the Hawai’i Department of Transportation concluded that despite the state’s high overall seat belt usage rates, only 73 percent of back seat passengers were using their seat belts.

During evening hours, DOT reported that overall seat belt usage drops from 93 percent to 62 percent.

“The easiest and most effective way of preventing serious injury or death in the event of a crash is by properly wearing your seat belt every time you ride in any seat of a vehicle,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Our new message reinforces the central role of the driver in ensuring all passengers ride and arrive safely to their destinations.”

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DOH’s newest PSA on seat belt use precedes Hawai’i’s Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign, which begins at the end of May.

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As of May 2013, Hawai’i’s seat belt law requires that drivers and all front and back seat passengers wear a seat belt. Even though the law has been in place for over two years, DOT observational studies show that nearly one in three back seat passengers still do not wear a seat belt.

Under the new seat belt law, a driver who is pulled over could face a fine of up to $112 per unbuckled passenger.

According to focus group studies conducted by DOH, not all Hawai’i residents are aware of the new restrictions.

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Based on the studies from 2013 to 2015, 44 percent of back seat vehicle passengers on the Big Island do not use their seat belts, the highest overall of all counties.

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