- Associated Press - Saturday, August 16, 2014

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) - State troopers in western Nebraska will be conducting an enforcement exercise intended to encourage motorists to buckle up.

For 44 days beginning Monday, troopers in and around Scottsbluff will conduct high visibility patrols placing a special emphasis on seat belt usage.

The goal is to reduce the potential for serious injury and fatality crashes.

In the past 18 months, nine people have been killed on county roads in Scotts Bluff County. Authorities say none of them were wearing seat belts. To date in 2014, the patrol says, 78 percent of the fatal crashes in the panhandle involve unrestrained occupants.

A $5,850 grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety will help fund the special enforcement effort that wraps up on Sept. 30.

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