Campaign focused on seatbelt usage

Posted June 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

The Hand County Sheriff’s Office recently participated, along with law enforcement agencies across the country in a national May Mobilization campaign sponsored by the Office of Highway Safety. The campaign focused on encouraging seatbelt usage and deterring impaired driving.


The sheriff’s office and the Miller Police Department did three seatbelt surveys. The first, on Monday, May 14, was at the high school parking lot. Of 298 people, 199 were wearing their seatbelts, and they were treated to candy. The 99 that were not wearing their seatbelt received a brochure from the S.D. Department of Public Safety and a verbal warning that wearing seatbelts is the law, and not complying could result in a $25 fine.

A second survey was held Wednesday, May 16 at the four-way stop in downtown Miller. During that survey, 842 people were contacted, and 659 were wearing their seatbelt. Those complying received either candy or a useful item from the Office of Highway Safety. The 183 that weren’t wearing seatbelts received the safety brochure and a verbal warning.

The third survey was held Thursday, May 31, again at the four-way stop. During that survey, 542 of the 602 people stopped were wearing their seatbelt, and received candy. The 60 that were not wearing seatbelts received the brochure and, again, the verbal warning.

The Hand County Sheriff’s Office also sponsored a coloring contest during May. The Miller School District was invited to participate by asking students who wished to color a poster based on the theme of wearing seatbelts. Thirty-five posters were entered. Miller Press employees judged the posters, with the grand prize going to Kaia Heilman. Winning entrants received gift cards to participating merchants. All 35 posters are on display in the Hand County Courthouse lobby.

South Dakota law requires that all front-seat passengers wear seatbelts. All youth under the age of 18 must be buckled in no matter where they are in the vehicle. All children under the age of five and under 40 pounds must be in a child safety seat. Failure to comply with the law may result in a fine of $25.

Deputy sheriff Wayne Ames noted, “Wearing your seatbelts should not be a matter of getting candy or some useful item, or even the fact that it is the law. It is a matter of life or death.”

Ames added, “Please, take that three seconds and buckle yourself in and make sure that everyone in your vehicle is buckled in. Do it for yourself and for those of you that you love and who love you.”

Mike Caviness|The Miller Press

AS PART OF THE May Mobilization Campaign to make sure people are wearing seatbelts, the Hand County Sheriff’s Office and the Miller Police Department conducted another check at the four-way stop on May 31, beginning at 5 p.m. During the check, 602 people were stopped; 542 were wearing their seatbelt, and 60 were not, indicating 90 percent compliance. Sheriff Doug DeBoer and Police Chief Shannon Speck stop a motorist during the check.