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VIPD Buckling Down on Buckling Up

April 28, 2021

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – The Virgin Islands Police Department reminds the community that vehicle occupants, despite age and seating position, are required to wear seat belts. Through a 2019 amendment to the VI Code - Title 20, Part II, chapter 41, section 466, subsection (b) – seat belt requirements were extended to include rear seat passengers.

According to the results of the USVI annual Observational Seat Belt Survey compliance continues to be a challenge for the territory. In 2020, the seat belt usage rate for drivers and their front seat passengers declined 2.9 percentage points to 68.2%. When compared to a US compliance rate of 90%, it is disproportionately low. “Virgin Islanders must take a proactive approach to roadway safety,” advised Police Commissioner Trevor A. Velinor. “Officers will be increasing seat belt enforcement efforts to reduce risks for preventable injuries and untimely fatalities. The law is simple; everyone in the car must be buckled.”

Virgin Islands motorists will observe increased seat belt enforcement checkpoints in the upcoming weeks. Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety Director Daphnie O’Neal is appealing to the motoring community to adhere to the law. In 2020 there were 14 fatalities because of vehicle crashes. “Protect your lives and the lives of your passengers. Seat belt compliance saves drivers from costly citation fees and incalculable regrets,” O’Neal advises.

Buckle up, VI! Every trip. Everyone. Every time. For more information on seat belts, child car safety seat use or other safe driving practices, contact the Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety through Director O’Neal at daphne.oneal@vipd.vi.gov, or Occupant Protection Coordinator Denise Gomes at denise.gomes@vipd.vi.gov. You may also contact the office via telephone at (340) 772-3025 or (340) 473-7383.

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