While using a seat belt may seem like a no-brainer, the Anchorage Police Department says there's still a lot of people who aren't wearing them before drivers take to local roads for the Fourth of July holiday.
With a June 18th truck rollover on the Glenn Highway that killed one person and injured three others as a reminder, officers have been Downtown holding signs asking people to buckle up and using chase cars to pull people over.
It's safe to say the corner of 5th Avenue and Karluk Street isn't a typical hangout spot for APD Capt. Dave Koch. But after seeing his share of vehicle crashes in his 35 years of police work, he is determined to get people to wear their seat belts -- one way or another.
"You talk to any working cop any firefighter, you don't take dead bodies out of seat belts," Koch said. "You pick them up when they've been thrown out of the car because they weren't wearing a seat belt."
With the focus on saving lives, Anchorage police are hitting the pavement to get people to pay attention to their warnings -- or pay the $60 fine for not being strapped in.
"We are writing a lot of tickets because a lot of people are not wearing their seat belts," said Koch.
Officers are dedicating their enforcement efforts to the memory of Cherilyn Buhler, who died in the June 18 truck rollover.
"She was not wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash," said Sgt. Roy LeBlanc.
"(Drivers) mistakenly think that our whole goal is to write tickets; the whole goal is to get voluntary compliance," Koch said.
Koch says the choice whether to wear or not to wear a seat belt should be simple.
"People claim that they are afraid of being trapped inside of a car and that's why they don't wear them, but all you have to do is study physics -- you have to be alive when the car stops to get out of the car," Koch said.
APD says wearing a seat belt also helps drivers retain the ability to control their vehicles in the event of a crash. Since the seat-belt initiative started this summer, officers say they have noticed more seat belt use; they plan to continue conducting street enforcement.