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Buckle Up Kansas!


May 14, 2004 (04-60)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News Contact: Ingrid Vandervort

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 Click It or Ticket Buckle Up America Week! and law enforcement mobilization wave is May 24-June 6.

Click It or Ticket 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.

“Kansas currently ranks 46th in the nation in seatbelt usage and that’s unacceptable,” said KDOT Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller. “The Click It or Ticket effort by law enforcement will send a message to Kansans that we are serious about increasing seatbelt usage to save lives.

 “KDOT and its transportation partners work to raise awareness that unbuckled drivers and passengers are at risk,” added Miller. “We believe the best way to prevent these needless tragedies is through education and strong support for enforcement of Kansas’ laws.”

The enforcement aspect of the program involves Special Traffic Enforcement Programs (STEP). The STEP program helps pay overtime for officers enforcing the Kansas occupant protection laws for children and adults.  More that 30 additional law enforcement agencies are joining current STEP agencies to participate in the statewide May mobilization effort.

In addition to the STEP activities, Buckle Up America Week! is a nationally coordinated effort to step up enforcement of occupant protection laws.

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 lives nationwide in 2001.  During this same year in Kansas, more than 77 percent of occupants killed in fatal crashes involving a passenger car, light truck or large truck were 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.”

Participating agencies include the Kansas Highway Patrol, 34 police departments and 25 county sheriff offices.

NOTE: This information is available in alternative accessible formats. To obtain an alternative format, contact the KDOT Office of Transportation Information, Docking State Office Building, #754, Topeka, Kansas, 66612-1568 or phone (785 296- 3585 (Voice)/(TTY).