Wheeling Police Stepping Up Citations for Seat Belt Violations

Photo by Jessica Broverman The Wheeling Police Department is stepping up enforcement of seat belt laws thanks to a state grant.

By 2 p.m. Monday, officers with the Wheeling Police Department issued 28 seat belt citations during the day — thanks to participating in the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said wearing a seat belt is just as important as avoiding distractions while driving.

“We will be rebuilding our traffic unit, which I believe will be reflective in traffic citations. Look for those to go up,” Schwertfeger said.

The department wants to remind residents that the West Virginia law requires drivers, front seat passengers and children in all types of vehicles to wear a seat belt.

Department spokesman Philip Stahl said passenger seat belt usage saved an estimated 13,941 lives throughout the nation in 2015. He said the national usage rate is at 90.1 percent, but more than 27 million people still choose not to buckle their seat belts.