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Buckle Up Kansas!


May 19, 2003 Release 03-049

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rosalie Thornburgh or Pati Pomeroy
KDOT Bureau of Traffic Safety: (785) 296-3756

Buckle Up Kansas!

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) wants to remind all motorists to buckle up and drive safely. The Kansas Clicks Buckle Up America! Week and the STEP (Special Traffic Enforcement Program) wave is May 19-June 1, 2003. Kansas Clicks Buckle Up America! Week is being promoted in Kansas with safety belt check lanes and child passenger safety check up events. These events bring together all aspects of the safety belt program in Kansas - education, enforcement, and awareness.

The enforcement aspect of the program involves STEP - Special Traffic Enforcement Program, with participating local law enforcement agencies across the state. The STEP program helps pay overtime for officers enforcing the Kansas occupant protection laws for children and adults. In addition to the STEP activities, Buckle Up America! Week is a nationally coordinated effort to step up enforcement of occupant protection laws.

“KDOT will help spread the message that unbuckled drivers and passengers are at risk, costing all of us lives and dollars – costs that society just cannot afford,” said Deb Miller, Secretary of KDOT. “We feel the best way to prevent these needless tragedies is through education and strong support for enforcement of Kansas’ laws, protecting children and adults.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), safety belts have been proven to be effective and are estimated to have saved 12,144 occupants killed in fatal crashes involving a passenger car, light truck, or large truck, were unrestrained. Of the 436 vehicle occupant fatalities in 2001, an estimated 334 were totally unrestrained.

“Adults who don’t buckle up are sending a deadly message to children that it’s all right not to use safety belts,” said Miller. “Studies have shown that when a driver is unbuckled, 70 percent of the time children in that vehicle will not be buckled either. Everyone is part of the solution, and by buckling your safety belt, Kansas Clicks.”

Participating agencies include the Kansas Highway Patrol, the police departments of Waterville, Oberlin, Leavenworth, Lenexa, Erie, Maize, Lansing, Humboldt, Overland Park, Galena, Osawatomie, Frontenac, El Dorado, Concordia, Merriam, Towanda, Wichita, Salina, Enterprise, Topeka, Olathe, Bel Aire, Sterling, Kansas City, McPherson, Holton, Holcomb, Russell, Park City, Roeland, Pratt, Andover, Eastborough, Columbus, Lyons, Emporia, Baldwin City, Baxter Springs, Prairie Village, Scranton, Wathena, Winfield, Horton, Lindsborg, Shawnee, Garden Plain, Holyrood, Hutchinson, Little River, Hoisington, Derby, Haysville, St. Mary’s, Beloit, Claflin, Hoxie, Conway Springs, Coffeyville, Ellsworth, Marysville, Tonganoxie, Garden City, and Hays.

Also participating will be the sheriff’s offices in the following counties; Ellis, Leavenworth, Allen, Mitchell, Rooks, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Doniphan, Hodgeman, Linn, Saline, Butler, Haskell, Morton, Barton, Meade, Seward, Cloud, McPherson, Franklin, Russell, Chase, Shawnee, Greeley, Logan, Johnson, Rush, Montgomery, Ellsworth, Riley, Jackson, Miami, Ford, Sedgwick, Atchison, Geary, Wilson, and Reno.