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Texas Officers Defend Practice of Not Wearing Seatbelts

March 03, 2010  | 

Law officers from a variety of Texas agencies told the Houston Chronicle that seat belts can hinder them, despite national highway statistics showing that many officers killed in vehicle accidents weren't wearing them.

Dozens of officers across the country have died in crashes while not wearing seat belts in recent years—at least 64 between 2004 and 2008, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

About 40 percent of officers killed in wrecks during that time period weren't buckled up, the analysis showed.

Officers and administrators told the media outlet that police culture can sometimes discourage seatbelt use. Also, officers worry their belts could hinder them if they have to exit quickly to confront a suspect because a seat belt can easily get tangled on a holster. Others said they'll be unable to control violent prisoners while buckled up.

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