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Buckle Up

seatbeltIf the catchy slogan doesn’t convince drivers in Bishop and Independence to buckle their seatbelts, perhaps this tear-jerking Public Service Announcement will push them over the top.

May is national “Click It or Ticket” month, and police departments throughout The Golden State are determined to write a higher-than-normal number of seatbelt citations during this period, especially during Memorial Day Weekend. In Central California, officers will focus on nighttime enforcement, because the percentage of unrestrained fatalities is higher when the sun goes down (59 percent versus 50 percent). Law enforcement officials promise the campaign will feature “no-excuses” enforcement, as if excuses ever really worked in the first place.

A VC 27315 infraction is a harmless sounding $20 fine, but that’s not the full story. With penalty assessments, add-ons and insurance rate increases, these tickets can end up costing you a bundle.

Saturation Enforcement

The tricky part about nighttime enforcement of the seatbelt law is that it takes away some officers’ go-to testimony in these cases: “I saw the seatbelt buckle glinting in the sunlight.”

PSAs with somewhat advanced special effects and giant billboards with eye-catching graphics are not cheap. In order to make the investment worthwhile, officers are under direct or indirect pressure from above to write these kinds of tickets during a period of saturation enforcement. Especially in a borderline case, this subtle coercion can be the difference between a guilty and a not-guilty verdict.

Unless the officers had been tailing these vehicles for several blocks, even the best witnesses would be hard-pressed to convince a judge, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they saw a dangling seatbelt buckle in the dark of night, especially if the entire buckle is black plastic.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.