|Updated: 1/03 10:19 pm
||Published: 1/03 11:12 am
84 drivers in Broken Arrow were issued tickets on Thursday because they weren't wearing their seatbelt. The Broken Arrow Police Department implemented a crash reduction effort after an increase in traffic deaths in 2012.
"We do it because we are trying to save people's lives," said Broken Arrow Police Sargeant, Ed Ferguson.
Broken Arrow had a record number of 13 deaths in 12 fatal collisions in 2012. Officials say preliminary crash data indicates collisions increased nearly 10% overall last year with a jump of 14% in the number of persons injured in crashes in Broken Arrow.
Beginning Thursday, police will conduct a number of Special Traffic Operations, or STOPs, in an effort to increase seatbelt use and decrease the risk of drivers being involved in traffic crashes through the reduction of traffic violations.
Sargeant Ferguson tells FOX23 that want drivers to abide by the rules of the road because it could save their life.
"Everyone knows what the law is," said Sgt. Ferguson, "If you just follow the rules then you don't have to worry about being stopped and ticketed by an officer."
Police say the goal of conducting these STOPs is to increase the apprehension of high-risk drivers as well as providing high-profile enforcement as a deterrent to improper driving behavior.
The STOPs will be conducted for the next few weeks using on-duty personnel as well as off-duty officers using grant funding from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. The STOPs conducted by police will include seat belt enforcement zones, saturation assignments, corridor patrols, intersection assignments and ghost operations that use plainclothes officers as observers for violators.
The STOPs program will continue through the month of January into February to provide a greater focus of enforcement on occupant restraint, insurance, speeding, driver’s license and traffic signal violations.
The first of these STOPs will be Thursday afternoon with seat belt enforcement zones near the intersections of Elm Place and New Orleans as well as Kenosha and Elm Place.