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Sheriff sets seatbelt blitz

Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies will conduct a Three Flags Seatbelt Blitz during the next two weeks along with other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

The blitz began Monday and will continue through Feb. 23. Officers will pay special attention to making sure drivers are using hands-free cell phone devices and safety belts and that passengers are using safety belts and child restraints.

In 2012, an estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver — a 9 percent increase from 2011, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

NHTSA also estimates one in five Americans fail to regularly wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle, even though they reduce fatality risk by 45 to 60 percent.

The organization reminds parents and caretakers that child safety seats reduce crash fatality risk for infants younger than one year old by 71 percent, and by 54 percent for toddlers 1 to 4 years old. Children weighing less than 40 pounds must be properly restrained in a safety seat.

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