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Aggressive Enforcement Effort Planned on U.S. 59


March 3, 2005 (05-033)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, contact:

Ingrid Vandervort
KDOT Bureau of Traffic Safety
785-296-3756

or

Steve Hale
Corporate Communications Group
913-451-2990

Aggressive enforcement effort planned on U.S. 59

KDOT program has officers on lookout for violations, seat belt use

Better be on your best behavior when traveling U.S. 59 between Lawrence and Ottawa. You can be assured law officers positioned along that 30-mile stretch of highway will be watching closely.

Law enforcement agencies will be on the look-out for traffic violations, with an eye toward enforcement of Kansas seat belt law, during a stepped-up enforcement campaign along the mostly two-lane U.S. 59 corridor. The enforcement "mobilization" begins March 16 and runs four consecutive days.

"The objective of these enforcement efforts is to bring attention to highway safety and ultimately to save lives," said Pete Bodyk, chief of KDOT's Bureau of Traffic Safety. "We commend participating law enforcement agencies for helping take such an aggressive approach to protecting motorists."

Joining the Kansas Highway Patrol during the March U.S. 59 mobilization will be sheriff's departments in Douglas and Franklin counties and the Lawrence and Ottawa police departments.

The highway corridor mobilization is organized and funded by KDOT's Bureau of Traffic Safety. Unlike last year when the entire length of state highways and interstates were monitored, KDOT is partnering with law enforcement agencies to focus on relatively short stretches of highway with a higher-than-average number of crashes. The north-south section of U.S. 59 between Lawrence and Ottawa meets those criteria.

Bodyk said a reduction in traffic-related fatalities and injuries is the top priority of KDOT. The emphasis on seat belt use is part of the ongoing Click It Or Ticket campaign, and is fueled by Kansas' low seat belt usage rate of 68 percent. "We still have a third of our drivers who are not wearing seat belts," Bodyk said.

Last year in Kansas alone, 456 people were killed in vehicle crashes. An additional 2,000 suffered disabling injuries and some 23,000 suffered relatively minor injuries. The majority of persons killed in traffic crashes were unbelted.

Kansas law requires all vehicle drivers and front seat passengers to be buckled up. All children under 14 must be property restrained. Children under four must be properly secured in an approved child safety seat.

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