As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Office of Highway Safety is joining law enforcement around the commonwealth for the annual Click It or Ticket campaign, encouraging motorists to buckle up and stay safe.
The federally funded campaign is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) high-visibility seat belt enforcement effort running May 24 – June 6.
“Kentuckians came together this past year to help save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and we’re asking for that same dedication to safety on our roadways,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “We must have the public’s help to spread this life-saving message: Commit to safe driving behaviors when behind the wheel, and everyone – both drivers and passengers – should pledge to buckle up.”
According to the final statistics for 2020, of the 780 roadway fatalities last year in Kentucky, 592 were occupants of motor vehicles. Of those killed in motor vehicle crashes, 338 were not protected a seat belt, car seat or booster seat. Six of the 338 were children age nine and under, four of which were improperly restrained.
“It only takes two seconds to buckle your seat belt,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “It’s a simple act, yet gives you the best chance of surviving a crash. Sometimes even the most attentive drivers are involved in a crash caused by other drivers, so buckling up should always be the first thing you do when entering a vehicle.”
According to NHTSA, a majority of unrestrained deaths occur during nighttime hours defined as 6 p.m. – 5:59 a.m. In Kentucky last year, 261 roadway deaths occurred at night. Of those, 162 people who were killed were not wearing seat belts.
“Kentucky State Police will partner with local law enforcement departments across the state to provide a high visibility enforcement effort,” said KSP Commissioner Phillip Burnett, Jr. “Our focus is about saving lives and ensuring everyone makes it home safely.”
To reinforce this message, more than 80 law enforcement agencies throughout Kentucky have participated in the KOHS Click It or Ticket “Local Heroes” initiative. Localized public service announcements (PSAs) feature actual officers, deputies and Troopers in counties with low seat belt usage rates and/or a high number of unrestrained motorist-involved crashes.
The PSAs will air during the Click It or Ticket campaign beginning Memorial Day weekend. In areas without a county-specific PSA, a statewide version will air featuring Kentucky State Police.
According to NHTSA, when worn correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45 percent for front-seat vehicle occupants and by 60 percent for pickup truck, SUV and minivan occupants. Properly fastened seat belts contact the strongest parts of the body, such as the chest, hips and shoulders. A seat belt spreads the force of a crash over a wide area of the body, putting less stress on any one part, and allows the body to slow down with the crash, extending the time when the crash forces are felt by the occupant.
“A seat belt is the best way to ensure you and your loved ones make it home safely so buckle up – day and night,” said Gray.
(provided by the Kentucky Department of Transportation)