Troy State promotes safe

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

driving during the holidays

Staff Report

Troy State University will join communities and law enforcement agencies around the country Nov. 20-26 when it participates in a nationwide campaign to promote safety during the holiday travel season.

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TSU will take part in "Avoid the Risk: Buckle Up," a national campaign to increase the use of automobile seat belts and support the enforcement of existing seat belt laws. The campaign is being coordinated statewide by the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

John Schmidt, vice president for Student Affairs, said the campaign, which will be held during Thanksgiving week, is a timely one for TSU students.

"The Thanksgiving holiday is traditionally one of the heaviest travel times for our students," Schmidt said. "We want to ensure that they travel as safely as possible and this campaign is designed to help us do that."

Troy State University Police will establish road blocks at different locations throughout campus during the week, said Rod Anderson, chief of police.

"We will set up random checkpoints to ensure that our students, faculty, staff and others driving on campus are in compliance with seat belt laws," Anderson said. "It may cause some minor inconveniences, but we want to emphasize the importance of seat belt usage."

University police will pass out safety information at the roadblocks, Anderson said, as well as mock tickets reading, "Arrive Alive: We Want You Back."

Alabama Department of Public Safety statistics show that 81 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities in 1999 were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, Anderson said.

"Seat belts make a life-and-death difference in an accident," he said. "Our students need to know that."

Alabama law requires all front-seat occupants to use seat belts and children 3 and younger ride in a federally approved child safety seat; children ages 4 and 5 must occupy safety seats or use regular safety belts.

Beginning in December 1999, law enforcement officers were able to issue citations for non-compliance of the law as a primary offense. Prior to that time, citations for not wearing a seat belt had to be issued along with another offense.