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'Seat-Belt Law Begins to Click'

January 10, 1987

Marcel L. Horowitz's comments in his letter to The Times (Dec. 12), complaining that police officers set a poor example to the motoring public, cannot go unanswered.

While it appears that police officers are not wearing seat belts because their shoulder harnesses are not visibly across their chests, in all probability they are securely held into their seats with auxiliary lap belts. Factory installed combination shoulder harness-lap belts design does not lend itself to the unique problems they present to the uniformed police officer.

Los Angeles police cars have been equipped with dual-belt systems since the advent of the non-detachable shoulder harness in the early 1970s. It is mandatory that officers use their available seat belts. They have the option of using the factory-installed combination lap belt-shoulder harness, the lap belt or both belts simultaneously.

The Los Angeles Police Department is constantly concerned about the safety of its officers and the motoring public. Whenever a police vehicle becomes involved in an accident, even if parked, a police supervisor makes an independent on-site investigation of the accident and specifically includes statements regarding the use of seat belts. Officers who have been found out not using their seat belts are subject to discipline.

Officers who view the carnage that results when unbelted passengers in vehicles are involved in accidents are provided constant reminders of what can happen if persons fail to use their provided safety equipment.

It is suicide for persons to not take advantage of the safety features provided in the modern automobile.

D.H. BRITTINGHAM

Director of Police Transportation

Los Angeles Police Department

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