A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky officials urge motorists to ‘Click It’ to stay safe while traveling over the holiday weekend

The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS), Louisville Metro Police and the Kentucky State Police (KSP) are reminding motorists to buckle up.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the state are participating in the nationwide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization through June 5.

“Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes,” said KOHS Executive Director Bill Bell.  “As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want those traveling our roadways to do the one thing that could save them in a crash: buckle up.”


Officers from several agencies were present at a campaign kick-off event this week in downtown Louisville near the Louisville Metro Corrections building.

“Buckling up is one of the easiest and most effective things we can do to keep ourselves safe in a vehicle,” Sgt. Bill Patterson of the Louisville Metro Police Department said.

A similar event was held for the region that includes Northern Kentucky at AAA/Bob Sumerel Tire and Service location on Red Bank Road in Cincinnati this week.

There were 761 total highway fatalities in Kentucky in 2015, with 588 killed in motor vehicles.  Of those 588 fatalities, 358 (61 percent) were unrestrained.  Six of those motor vehicle fatalities occurred over the Memorial Day holiday.  None were wearing a seat belt.

“Clearly this is an indication that people are not taking the law seriously, or they’re just not aware of the huge risk being taken by not buckling up,” said Bell. “With our seatbelt usage rate approaching 90 percent we be more targeted in our messaging this year.”

KOHS will sponsor the Buckle Up in your Truck 225 at the KY Speedway in July.

Kentucky has a primary seat belt law, meaning everyone is required to buckle up while in a moving vehicle.

Kentucky State Police Spokesman Sgt. Michael Webb says troopers will be operating a statewide enforcement program aimed at reducing highway deaths.

“Kentucky State Police, along with our local law enforcement partners, intend to promote safe driving and seat belt usage,” says Webb. “All of our posts and regions will be participating in this statewide effort. We truly want you to arrive alive – and a seatbelt is your best way to do that.”

The Click It or Ticket campaign does not stop at the Kentucky state line. Law enforcement agencies in 49 states participate in this national safety effort. Captain Scottie Maples of the Clark County Indiana Sheriff’s Office spoke on behalf of the Clark County Traffic Safety Partnership.

“Many people think that our patrols only happen during the day. But with 380 nighttime fatality crashes last year, our various agencies will be performing this enforcement effort at night,” said Captain Maples.

This year’s campaign, funded by a federal grant through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has a special emphasis on pickup trucks.

A University of Kentucky Transportation Center survey shows Kentucky’s overall seat belt usage rate as 86.7 percent.  However, the usage rate for pickup trucks is the lowest of all vehicles at 79 percent.  The usage rate for vans is 88.3 percent and SUVs is 89.2 percent.

 “We see unrestrained motorists in all types of vehicles; however, we’re asking pickup truck drivers to be especially aware of the law,” said Webb. “While rollover crashes can occur in any vehicle, pickup trucks are twice as likely to rollover as passenger cars.”

NHTSA estimates that seat belts, when worn correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. For pickup trucks, SUVs and van occupants, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent and moderate-to critical injury by 65 percent.

“Our goal is to have zero fatalities on Kentucky roadways,” said Bell. “Zero is the only acceptable number.”

For more on the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, click it here .

From Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Communications

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