Click It Or Ticket!
May 20, 2004 (04-62)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News Contact: Ingrid Vandervort, KDOT Bureau
of Traffic Safety, (785) 296-3756
Steve Hale, Coporate Communications Group, (913) 451-2990
Neil Smith endorses 'Click It Or Ticket' in Kansas
Aggressive enforcement effort begins
OVERLAND PARK (May 20) – Neil Smith knows collisions, having caused more
than his share during a stellar 13-year NFL career in which he relentlessly
hounded opposing quarterbacks.
On Thursday, Smith took aim at another type of collision, the kind that is
literally a matter of life and death.
Smith joined Kansas law enforcement officials to remind motorists of a statewide
“Click It Or Ticket” public education and seat belt enforcement campaign being
mounted by the Kansas Department of Transportation. Smith also encouraged
participation in the May 22 Neil Smith Buckle-Up 5K Run/Walk at Arrowhead
Stadium. Proceeds from the Buckle-Up 5K will benefit trauma services at Truman
Speaking from his Overland Park restaurant, Copeland’s, Smith said if the
threat of getting a ticket will prompt more Kansans to wear their seat belt,
then traffic officers have every reason to aggressively enforce seat belt
Smith became a seat belt activist after the death of his friend and teammate,
Derrick Thomas, and his nephew, Gary L. Dameron, Jr. Both were killed in separate
car crashes while unbelted. Appearing with Smith on Thursday was Denise Dameron,
his sister-in-law and the mother of Gary Dameron, who also has become active
in traffic safety initiatives. She also advocated the Click It Or Ticket campaign.
“I guarantee that anyone who has lost a loved one because of a failure to
wear a seat belt, or anyone who has had an accident while traveling unbelted
are big supporters of seat belts,” Dameron said. “We don’t want others to
go through the same pain to learn the lesson that we have learned. We totally
support this important campaign.”
The goal of Click It Or Ticket is to raise seat belt usage rates. In Kansas,
just 64 percent of motorists wear seat belts, ranking it 46th in
the nation. Persons under 18 were even less likely to wear seat belts than
adults. During surveys conducted over the past two springs, only 55 percent
of persons in that age group were wearing seat belts.
Thursday’s news conference also included appearances by law enforcement officers
who appear in the Click It Or Ticket television and radio advertisements being
aired throughout the state. The officers featured in those ads reiterated
their intent to ticket persons who are not buckling up. Hundreds of law enforcement
agencies throughout Kansas have agreed to mount a concentrated seat belt enforcement
effort during a two-week period beginning May 24. The effort coincides with
the national observance of Buckle Up America.
“We will be out in force, and we will not hesitate to ticket those who are
in violation of the state’s occupant protection law,” said Lt. Harold Tillman,
a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper. “Support for the Click It Or Ticket program
is agency-wide, starting right at the top with our superintendent. (Col. William
The ads, and the enforcement effort, are being funded through KDOT with a
grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.