New law requires back seat passengers to buckle up

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Honolulu Police Capt. Darren Izumo knows that seat belts save lives.

“It is a sad personal fact that throughout my career, I’ve been to well over 500 fatal and critical accidents. The reason I say that is with that experience, I can say with conviction — properly warn seat belts save lives.”

To save lives, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a new seat belt law that requires everyone in a vehicle, front and back, to buckle up.

“We’ve seen the success with front seat and child passenger safety laws and how much that’s reduced the toll of injuries on our highways. We’re just really excited we can see the same protection to back seat passengers,” said Loretta Fuddy, with the Department of Health.

That protection starts right now.

“It’s a fact. By the way there’s no grace period. The governor signed it. It’s effective now,” Capt. Izumo said.

Police officers across the state will be ticketing the driver with a $92 fine if anyone in the vehicle isn’t wearing a seat belt.

“Please understand these citations are not punitive in nature. We’re not trying to punish anybody. We’re trying to get people to comply with the law, educate that these devices come with your vehicle — you don’t pay extra — save lives,” Capt. Izumo said.

Federal and state agencies all support the new law, saying it saves lives.

‘Everything in your vehicle once you start to break become a flying object that includes people in the back who are coming forward to kick you in the back of the head while you are restrained in the front seat,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Region IX Director Dr. David Manning said.

The new law starts just as the state kicks off the annual click it or ticket campaign, which continues through June 2.

Not all passengers will have to wear seat belts under the new law depending on what type of vehicle one is in.

Emergency vehicles including ambulances and police cars are exempt from the new law.

Passengers in most mass transit vehicles are also spared.

The law won’t be adding seat belts to the City bus or school buses.

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