[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                               November 28, 2008

McCoy to join in 'Booze & Belts' campaign

To keep the joyous holiday season from becoming a time of tragedy, The Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) Police Department will mobilize along with other law enforcement agencies throughout the area for the "Booze & Belts" traffic crash-prevention effort from Monday, Dec. 8-Monday, Dec. 15.

"Our goal during the Booze & Belts mobilization is to stop needless traffic deaths and injuries," said Sgt. Domenic Modica, Fort McCoy Police Department Traffic sergeant. "Our goal is to save lives and prevent injuries ó not to write more safety-belt tickets or make more drunken-driving arrests."

Fort McCoy DES police personnel will conduct random compliance checks during the campaign, Modica said.

Motorists driving at Fort McCoy should be aware there are some differences in federal traffic regulations compared to civilian traffic regulations off post, he said.

Modica said these include required use of safety belts and hands-free cell phones by drivers in vehicles on the installation. Drivers can use non hands-free cell phones if they pull over into a parking lot or to the shoulder of a road, if necessary.

Safety belts are a secondary enforcement issue in Wisconsin. The use of cell phones by drivers also is not regulated on Wisconsin roads.

Personnel riding motorcycles or bicycles are required to wear helmets on the installation. Motorcyclists also must have completed and passed an authorized motorcycle safety course and wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as reflective vests, proper clothing, etc., to ride motorcycles on post.

Motorists not following these rules can be stopped and ticketed/cited. Modica said personnel can get more information, by reading U.S. Army Regulation 190-5 or by calling him.

More information about motorcycle safety is available by calling the Installation Safety Office at (608) 388-3403 or the installationís Patriot Warrior Riders Motorcycle Mentorship program at (608) 388-3605.

Last year in Wisconsin, there were more than 42,000 drunken driving convictions and nearly 68,000 convictions for failure to fasten safety belts, according to Department of Transportation statistics.

Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving in the nation, according to a nationwide study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released earlier this year. In 2007, alcohol-related crashes killed 337 people in Wisconsin and injured more than 5,500 people, as well.

Wisconsin law enforcement personnel hope campaigns such as this one will markedly improve those statistics.

The 68,000 convictions for failure to fasten safety belts were the second-most prevalent traffic conviction.

The stateís seat-belt compliance rate improved to 75 percent, but that is still below the national average of 82 percent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said wearing safety belts is important because it is the single most-effective way to protect people from being ejected from or thrown around inside a vehicle during vehicle crashes.

Approximately 77 percent of passenger vehicle occupants have survived serious accidents when buckled up.

Besides risking death and injuries, motorists also may take a painful hit in their wallets if they irresponsibly choose to ignore safety-belt and impaired-driving laws, according to Modica.

"We hope that people will voluntarily decide to buckle up and drive sober. But if they donít, our extra enforcement will increase the risks of getting caught," Modica said. "Because too many lives are being lost in traffic crashes, we must continue to crack down on unbelted and impaired motorists."

More information also is available at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Web site at: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov or at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Web site http://www.nhtsa.gov.

For more information in the Fort McCoy community, call Modica at (608) 388-2044.

(Information in this story also is from Wisconsin State Patrol Bureau of Transportation Safety.)


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