San Angelo Police Department introduces new Buckle Down & Stay Strapped In initiative

At a news conference at police headquarters Monday afternoon, Mayor Dwain Morrison and Chief of Police Frank Carter introduced a new safety campaign and survey that will be taking place over the next year.

Buckle Down & Stay Strapped In is a baseline seat belt survey that started with a pre-survey conducted Oct. 22 to Oct. 2, in San Angelo.

The results of the pre-survey showed the seat belt use rate for drivers was at 93.1 percent for drivers and 92.8 percent for passengers; almost three percent above the state average of 90.7 percent and over four percent above the national average of 87 percent.

The highest percentage of people wearing seat belts in the community were age 25-59 (94.5 percent), the lowest were age 60 and older (89 percent).

The monthly survey will continue to take place over the next year, and will contain subgroups of age, sex, vehicle type and driver/passenger.

The survey will be conducted by non-uniformed trained observers consisting of law enforcement officers or other qualified personnel, at five different unspecified locations: two high-volume roadways, two medium-volume roadways and one low-volume roadway. The sites will be observed at the same time on the same day of the week, but will not be conducted during rain, snow or other inclement weather.

“In San Angelo, we were at 93.1 percent, so we were very pleased, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was also kind of shocked,” said SAPD Public Information Officer and campaign spokesperson Tracy Gonzalez. “We’re doing pretty good number-wise. With that said, there’s always room for improvement.”

“The proclamation says buckling up reduces risk of death or serious injury from a traffic crash,” Morrison said. “It is reduced by 50 percent. Habitual seat belt use is vital to maintaining a high-level of public safety and health.”