MAHONING VALLEY State highway patrol, agencies latch onto campaign for safety belt use

The campaign aims to improve compliance with seat-belt laws.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning Safe Communities, the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio State Highway Patrol are encouraging the use of safety belts in automobiles with the "What's Holding You Back?" campaign during the final weeks of the summer driving season.
The campaign includes stronger enforcement of seat-belt laws by local and state authorities and a message designed to make people think about the possibility of a loved one's death in a crash if belts are not used.
"The goal of the heightened enforcement is to save lives through increased use of safety belts," said Matthew Stefanak, Mahoning County health commissioner. He said that last year, more than half of Ohioans killed in motor vehicle crashes were not using safety belts.
Coalition: The Mahoning County District Board of Health is part of Mahoning Safe Communities, a coalition of agencies and schools with the goal of improving driving safety.
The first "What's Holding You Back?" enforcement effort during the Memorial Day weekend resulted in 8,290 citations, including 2,273 involving seat belts.
Mahoning Safe Community and law enforcement officials urged residents to "change the deadly bad habit of not buckling every trip, every time."

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