A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Click It or Ticket: Police to be on the alert, out in force during the Memorial Day holiday weekend

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Highway deaths in Kentucky may be on the decline this year, but that doesn’t mean police won’t be ramping up for the anticipated increase in traffic during this long Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The “Click It or Ticket” campaign is now underway across the country, coinciding with what is considered the traditional start to the summer driving season.

So far this year, Kentucky State Police report, 267 people have been killed in traffic crashes in the state, down from 286 at this point last year. But 2016 was a particularly deadly one, with a total of 834 deaths. It was the first time the highway death toll had exceeded 800 in eight years.

Nine people died in crashes last Memorial Day Weekend, and authorities hope to reduce that total this holiday weekend with heavier speed enforcement.

Among the things police will be looking for are impaired or distracted drivers, speeders and especially those not using seat belts and child safety seats.

“We see firsthand the loss of life when people don’t buckle up,” said Lexington Police Sgt. Randall Combs. “It’s such a simple thing, and it should be an automatic next step after sitting down in a vehicle.”

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate seat belts, when worn correctly, reduce the risk of fatalities by 45 percent for front seat vehicle occupants, and 60 percent for pickup truck, SUV and minivan occupants.

The agency said seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect against and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.
Law enforcement agencies will also be conducting traffic safety checkpoints a various areas around Kentucky to promote safety

The Lexington Police Department is also participating in the ‘Click It or Ticket’ enforcement campaign.

As the Memorial Day weekend approaches and the summer vacation season ramps up, “We want to keep our community members safe, and make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash: buckling up,” said Combs. “If the enforcement crackdown wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving and gets them to buckle up, we’ll consider it a success.”

Of the 834 highway fatalities last year in Kentucky, 50.9 percent were not wearing a seat belt.

“Did you know someone who was killed in a crash because they did not buckle up?” asked Combs. “Please, help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone—front seat and back, child and adult—needs to remember to buckle up, every trip, every time.”

For more on the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.

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