The Randolph Police Department has received the largest state grant on the South Shore to help enforce the use of seat belts.
“Seat belts save lives and reduce the risk of serious injury by more than 50 percent,” said Randolph Police Chief William Pace, whose department received a $2,640 grant. “A person is 30 times more likely to be ejected in a crash not wearing a seat belt. Randolph police will use the money to conduct enforcement patrols and education during the Click It or Ticket campaign.”
Holbrook also received a grant of $1,000.
The state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security doled out $248,000 to towns and cities statewide as part of the national Click It or Ticket campaign.
“The more people who buckle up, the fewer injuries and fatalities on our roads,” said Jeff Larason, director of the highway safety division at the public safety office. “Regardless of how short your trip is, or how good a driver you are, seat belts are critical to your survival if you’re ever in a crash.”
The money can be used by departments to increase patrols where a focus for officers is checking seat belt compliance or education.
Larason said most crashes occur fairly close to the driver’s home, where people are less likely to be wearing a seat belt.
“Sometimes people forget to put on their seat belt for short trips or around town,” Larason said.
In Quincy, where police received $1,372, Capt. John Dougan said the money would help pay for stepping up patrols locally.
“Reducing the number of people who are needlessly injured or killed in our community is our priority,” said Dougan. “These funds allow us to put more patrols in high crash locations and stress the importance of buckling up to motorists who are unbuckled.”
State data show the percentage of seat belt use rose to 81.6 percent among all drivers and passengers in the last year. The state still lags behind the national use rate of 89.6 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The department’s data also show that 61 percent of the 207 people killed in car crashes in Massachusetts in 2017 weren’t wearing seat belts.
Larason said groups with the lowest seat belt use rates are pickup truck and commercial truck drivers and 18- to 34-year-old men.
Other local police departments to receive grants were: Holbrook, $1,000; Rockland, $2,000; Plymouth, $1,372; Braintree, $1,320; Milton, Pembroke and Norwell, $1,000; Scituate, $902; Hingham, $800.