Calera checks seatbelts for campaign

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Motorists traveling in the city of Calera this week might be forced to take notice of efforts to curb growing problems with traffic safety there.

The Calera Police Department will set up checkpoints as part of the nationwide Click it or Ticket campaign while working to educate drivers about lowered speed limits along U.S. Highway 31.

The city, which has seen an increase in traffic fatalities in recent years, will supplement its force by activating off-duty Calera officers to aid in the efforts.

Calera Police Chief Jim Finn said the state has authorized the city to change the speed limit on Highway 31 from its intersection with 5th Avenue to mile marker 247 near the northern city limits.

The new speed limit along the stretch of highway running through Calera will be 45 miles per hour, Finn said.

The speed limit on that stretch of 31 was formerly 55 miles per hour.

Finn said he has instructed his officers to focus on educating motorists of the new speed limits for around a week before heavily enforcing them.

In accordance with the Click it or Ticket campaign, Finn has ordered a &uot;no tolerance&uot; approach for motorists in violation of state seatbelt laws.

The police department will conduct checkpoints over the weekend, starting Friday, May 23 through the Memorial Day holiday, May 26.

Finn said he expects nothing more than &uot;minor&uot; traffic delays as a result of the checkpoints.

Calera police officers have been trained to perform the checkpoints while maintaining traffic flow, Finn said.

Calera officials said the campaign seems to have been a successful one, citing a decrease in

the amount of drunk driving arrests and number of tickets issued at the checkpoints over the last few years.

&uot;We urge the traveling public to please buckle up, drive safely and have a safe, happy summer,&uot; said Capt. Tommy Palmer