Federal report says fewer officers wearing seatbelts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Federal report says fewer officers wearing seatbelts

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- The findings have experts concerned.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows 42% of officers killed in car crashes were not wearing seatbelts.  The study also finds seat belt use among police officers has declined since the 1990's.

The state of Iowa is not among the leaders in the largest number of police deaths resulting from vehicle crashes.  In fact, Cedar Rapids police report, of the 34 crashes involving officers in 2010, all drivers were wearing seatbelts.

Sgt. Cristy Hamblin credits this to the officers' preparation.
''All of our training, you're always wearing your seatbelt,'' Hamblin said.

So why are some officers choosing to forego their restraints?  In a field where every second matters, many believe it's a way to save time.

''It's just so you can get out of your car and help whoever is in need of help in a quicker manner, but you've got to get there safe to begin with,'' Hamblin said.

All Iowa drivers are required by state law to wear seatbelts.  There is, however, an exemption for police officers riding in the passenger seat which allows them to ride unrestrained.

Online reporter: Jason Epner

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