ALBANY — The New York State Police, the New York State Park Police and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee are partnering to ensure that visitors to state parks are buckling up for safety.

“BUNY in the Parks” is an enforcement and educational campaign to ensure that visiting motorists and their passengers properly buckle-up their seatbelts while travelling inside state parks, and to teach the importance of properly securing our youngest visitors in approved child safety seats. This year’s campaign will be held through Aug. 13.

Since New York State became the first state in the nation to enact a primary seat belt law, effective Jan. 1, 1985, countless lives have been saved. The seatbelt compliance rate has steadily increased, reaching 93 percent in New York State in 2017. However, motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of death for children. Additionally, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2016, more than one-third (35 percent) of children under the age of 13 killed in car crashes were not restrained using seat belts, car seats or booster seats.

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “As the summer travel season continues, the State Police, State Park Police, and our law enforcement partners strongly encourage the proper use of seat belts and child safety seats in motor vehicles. By simply buckling-up, motor vehicle occupants dramatically reduce their risk of severe injury or death if involved in a crash. We will be working diligently to promote proper seatbelt use and compliance, and reduce the senseless tragedies caused by people who ignore the seat belt laws.”

This initiative coincides with one of the peak times that visitors travel to state parks throughout New York State, and the goal is for motorists and their families to arrive and depart safely. During the 2017 BUNY in the Parks campaign, State Police and State Park Police issued more than 43,089 total tickets. That included 929 tickets for child restraint violations, and 1,921 tickets for adult seat belt violations.