[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                          May 8, 2009

Seat-belt usage required on post

With seat-belt use mandatory for motorists driving at Fort McCoy, the installation should be able to maintain its standing of having one of the top seat-belt use rates throughout the United States, said Sgt. Domenic Modica.

Modica, the Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) traffic sergeant, said seat-belt usage across the United States and its territories averaged 83 percent nationwide, according to a 2008 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study. Seat-belt usage ranged from 55.7 percent in American Somoa to 97.2 percent in Michigan. Fort McCoy motorists currently have a seat-belt use of 97 percent, and DES staff members are pushing for as close to 100 percent, as possible, at Fort McCoy, he said.

Click It or Ticket campaign May 18-31

The Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) Police Department will team up with hundreds of law enforcement agencies throughout Wisconsin for the Click It or Ticket safety-belt enforcement mobilization from May 18 to 31, according to Sgt. Domenic Modica, DES traffic sergeant.

"During Click It or Ticket, our officers will be patrolling in greater numbers and for longer hours, including at night when safety-belt use declines," Modica said. "Our objective during the mobilization is not to write more tickets but to save lives and reduce injuries. We won’t accept excuses, and you won’t get a warning if you are stopped by an officer and are not buckled."

Consistent safety-belt use is the single most effective protection against being ejected from a vehicle or thrown around violently inside it during a crash.

"Far too many people are killed or injured needlessly everyday because they were not buckled up," Modica said. "Our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of preventable traffic deaths to zero in Wisconsin. That’s why we urge you to buckle up every time you get behind the wheel or ride in a vehicle. However, if you ignore the law and common sense, we’ll also be ready to provide you with a very convincing reminder."

For more information about the Click It or Ticket campaign at Fort McCoy, contact Modica at 608-388-2044.

The state of Wisconsin, which has a secondary seat-belt use law, had a 2008 rate of 74.8 percent, which was a decrease of 1.1 percent from 2007, according to the NHTSA. A secondary law means that motorists must be stopped for another infraction, such as speeding, before they can be ticketed for not wearing their seat belts.

"Studies have shown that wearing seat belts in vehicles saves lives and reduces or eliminates injuries suffered in accidents," Modica said. "By strictly enforcing the law of mandatory seat-belt use at Fort McCoy, we hope motorists driving on the installation develop the mindset to make it a habit to buckle up at all times — both on and off post."

According to the NHTSA, jurisdictions with stricter seat-belt enforcement laws continue to exhibit generally higher use rates than those jurisdictions without the stricter laws, Modica said. Fort McCoy DES police officers want everyone to drive safely so they strictly enforce all traffic laws.

Motorists who enter Fort McCoy with children also must have approved child car-safety seats or restraints for children who weigh less than 40 pounds.

Each of the police shifts at Fort McCoy has an officer certified in child car-safety seat inspections so personnel can arrange to have a one-on-one check done at Fort McCoy. For more information, call the Public Safety Center at 608-388-2266.

Because of the high transient population, including Soldiers training or attending courses on post, these traffic laws, in addition to seat-belt use, include cell phone use while driving, yielding right of way to pedestrian traffic when required, obeying speed limits, etc., Modica said.

Motorists cannot use cell phones while their vehicle is moving unless they have hands-free cell phones, he said.

Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalk situations and in all situations when they are in formation, such as marching, conducting physical training runs, etc. Modica said pedestrians should follow all rules and use existing sidewalks and crosswalks when available. If pedestrians have to walk in the road they should walk on the left side, facing traffic.

"If motorists encounter pedestrians and are in doubt about who has the right of way, the right decision is to yield to pedestrians," Modica said. "We will be strictly enforcing the regulation that states motorists have to drive 10 mph when following or passing troops in formation."

Fort McCoy Police also will continue compliance checks for seat-belt use and proper cell phone use, Modica said. Enforcement also can include the use of radar checks to ensure speed limits are being followed.

For more information about traffic and pedestrian laws at Fort McCoy see Fort McCoy Regulation 190-5, which is available at the Fort McCoy Corporation Network, or call Modica at 608-388-2044.


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