The New Year is starting with a resounding CLICK! at Scranton Army Ammunition Plant.

SCAAP is enforcing a 100 percent seat belt check. Anyone found not wearing a seat belt when approaching the front gate will have to buckle up prior to driving onto the installation or will be denied vehicular access.

This new enforcement resulted from a recent check of all employees and visitors entering the facility for compliance with mandatory seat belt usage. The ensuing report stated that seat belt usage was "somewhat less than satisfactory."

General Dynamics, SCAAP's contractor, has taken the initiative to ensure its employees buckle up not only when driving onto the installation but anytime they drive or ride in a vehicle.

Rich Hansen, commanders' representative, urged his staff to follow suit. He drove home the importance of using seat belts with a personal story.

"Accidents happen quickly, and in most cases without warning. I was involved in a rollover accident 11 years ago. I credit these last 11 years of my life to the fact I was wearing a seatbelt. I am absolutely convinced I would have been thrown from my truck and either seriously injured or killed had I not been wearing a seatbelt," Hansen said.

The National Occupant Protection Use Survey, which provides the only nationwide probability-based observed data on seat belt use in the United States, reported 2009 findings. Overall, about 84 percent of people in the U. S. use seat belts. NOPUS stated that seat belt use is lower among 16- to 24-year-olds than other age groups, and that it is lower among males than females.

In addition, seat belt use is lower among blacks than other race groups, and it is lower among drivers driving alone than among drivers with passengers.

As employees at SCAAP learned, Army regulation 385-10 says, "All personnel, including visitors, will wear seat belts while driving or riding on the installation in a privately owned/leased vehicle..."

In addition, 49 states plus the District of Columbia have seat belt laws.

Each year in the U. S., 49,000 people die in car accidents, but seat belts can prevent death in about half of these accidents.

In light of these laws and statistics, Hansen made a request to his staff, "I ask that every one of you ALWAYS wear your seat belt when riding in or driving a motor vehicle. See you tomorrow."