As motorist gear up for the big Memorial Day weekend, they are being reminded to Buckle Up by local and state local enforcement officials.
A statewide "Buckle Up; Click it or Ticket" campaign kicked off at the Capitol in Albany on Wednesday, May 14, with a press conference announcing that police will be on the lookout for un-belted driver's between May 19 and June 1.
Until June, police around the state will be adding patrols and looking for drivers without seatbelts and improperly restrained children inside of vehicles. The west lawn of the Capitol building was filled with law enforcement vehicles in the park and there was also an inflated 30-foot tall gorilla wearing a seatbelt.
Staff of the event handed out various promotional and informational materials to hundreds of people during the busy lunch hour. The press conference focused on the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt and the number of lives saved each year by buckling up.
Local municipalities such as Troy, Albany, Colonie, and Bethlehem police departments, and the Albany County Sheriff's Department, as well as State Police, were all on hand to tell people they will be on the lookout for seatbelts over the next two weeks.
Lieutenant Heffernan of the Bethlehem Police Department said municipalities are given grants by the state to add extra patrols to their jurisdictions until June 1.
"We normally try to do it around a holiday," Heffernan said of the 'Buckle Up' program. "This is in addition to our daily efforts, of course."
Police say that front-seat passengers over the age of 16 can be subject to a citation if the driver is pulled over, and that if the passenger is under 16, the driver will be issued the citation.
Motorists can expect routine roadblock stops, much like an inspection sticker stop or a DWI checkpoint, over the next two weeks as police look for seatbelt violators.