Statistics released Monday by the California Highway Patrol show its Imperial Valley Buckle Up project has succeeded in getting more drivers and passengers to use seat belts.
The Highway Patrol stated in a press release there has been an increase of more than 90 percent in the use of both seat belts and child safety seats in the county since the program started in January 2000.
A grant totaling more than $500,000 from the California Office of Traffic Safety allowed the Highway Patrol to conduct more than 100 countywide restraint training classes and distribute 400 convertible child-safety seats to eligible low-income expectant mothers.
Those safety seats were distributed through clinics and hospitals in the county.
Highway Patrol officials credited the local media for broadcasting public service announcements in both Spanish and English regarding the program.
The main impetus for the program was a survey conducted by the Highway Patrol throughout the Imperial Valley during 1998 and 1999.