JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - After initiating an effort to reduce traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities in Jonesboro, police found that many drivers are not wearing their seat belts.
On Oct. 14, officers began setting up at different intersections throughout Jonesboro and issuing citations for distracted drivers or those who were not using their seat belts.
"We have had the most accidents and injuries and fatalities year to date than we've had in the same time period of 2015, so now we are trying to get a hold of it," said Paul Holmes, public information specialist for the Jonesboro Police Department.
Holmes said they did a study and found certain intersections, such as those on Red Wolf Boulevard, Caraway, and Nettleton, are places that see the most accidents.
He said the best way to avoid them is for drivers to obey the law.
"Don't follow too close behind a vehicle, stop texting and driving, and wear a seat belt," Holmes said.
According to the numbers the department has calculated since the start of the traffic campaign, they have issued 264 traffic citations.
- Texting while driving: 20 citations
- Careless or prohibited driving: 18 citations
- Not wearing a seat belt: 226 citations
JPD also calculated the numbers of traffic citations they've issued since the start of 2016, including those given out during the traffic campaign.
- Texting while driving: 52 citations
- Careless or prohibited driving: 185 citations
- Not wearing a seat belt: 833 citations
"This shows us that many people in our city do not want to wear seat belts but we want them to wear those seat belts," Holmes said. "They can very well save your life and if it means giving citations as a reminder of its importance, then so be it."
Though some drivers have voiced their opinions about the high presence of police officers at intersections saying they feel the enforcement is causing traffic jams, other drivers are fine with the new regulations.
"I think it makes people pay a little more attention," said Justin Ladford, a Jonesboro driver. "Maybe they'll have their seat belt on, maybe they will not be texting on their phone, maybe they will be paying attention more."
Holmes said that until they have enough data to determine how much of an impact this traffic campaign has had, they will continue to bring major attention to the problems of low seat belt usage and distracted driving.
"These are some primary contributors to those accidents and we want to address those and make the motorists understand that if they comply with the law, do what we ask them to do, do what the law asks them to do then they'll be safer," Holmes said.
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