The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) announced that High Visibility Enforcement patrols are active across the state to monitor for drivers who are not wearing their seat belts or do not have child passengers in the correct car seat. 

According to officials, these emphasis patrols are running through June 2 as part of WTSC’s annual seat belt campaign, which strives to remind Washingtonians that wearing a seat belt is one of the most important and effective ways to survive a crash.

The campaign will pay extra attention to regions of the state where seat belt use was noted as being significantly lower than the statewide seat belt use rate, including Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Mason, Stevens, and Thurston counties. 

A multi-jurisdictional seat belt patrol is planned between law enforcement agencies within Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Thurston, and Lewis counties for May 24-25.

Despite Washington maintaining a high seat belt use rate for many years, the number of fatalities and serious injuries involving people not wearing seat belts has increased to the highest number since before 2010. 

WTSC urges all Washingtonians to buckle up because they say it is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.

“Wearing a seat belt drastically decreases the chance of dying or being seriously injured in a collision, regardless of where you are sitting in a vehicle. Airbags and other safety features are designed to work best when you are buckled up,” said Erica Stineman, Communications Manager, WTSC. “We are asking everyone to take advantage of this focus on seat belts to make sure everyone in their vehicle is secured safely, every time they drive.”

“We know that a vast majority of people in Washington use their seat belts, and we appreciate you helping us make the road a safer place,” continued Stineman. “Our hope is that this campaign will reach some of the folks who choose not to buckle up so we can get closer to 100% seat belt use across the state this year.”

Washington state laws require that everyone in a motor vehicle wears a safety restraint that is properly fastened. The fine for not wearing a seat belt or appropriate child restraint costs $136. 

More information can be found at the WTSC’s Together We Get There website. Child passenger safety resources are at wacarseats.com with materials available in seven languages.