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Kentucky Office of Highway Safety encourages seat belt use as holiday season approaches


As the holiday season 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.

The federally-funded campaign is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) high-visibility seat belt enforcement effort running Nov. 16-29.

“KYTC’s mission is to provide a safe transportation system for all road users, but this cannot be accomplished without the public’s help,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “We are asking all motorists to make safe choices when in a vehicle. This includes buckling up – every trip, every time.”

Last year, there were 567 motor vehicle occupants killed on Kentucky roads. Of those deaths, 300 were not wearing a seat belt, car seat or booster seat.

“It’s such a simple act, yet gives you the best chance of surviving a crash” said KYTC State Highway Engineer James Ballinger. “Sometimes even the most attentive drivers are involved in a crash caused by other drivers, so taking two seconds to buckle up should be the first thing you do after getting into 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, 237 roadway deaths occurred at night. Of those, 136 were unrestrained.

“While following the data is important to identify opportunities to improve safety, our focus is not on numbers – it’s on people,” said Ballinger. “Wearing a seat belt is the law, but it’s not about writing tickets – it’s about saving lives.”

According to NHTSA, when worn correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatalities 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.

“Please, help us spread this life-saving message,” said Ballinger. “A seat belt is the best way to ensure you and your loved ones make it home safely so buckle up – day and night.”

For additional information please visit www.nhtsa.gov.

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