Here’s a driving tip that could save a life, or maybe just put a buck in your pocket. Starting Sunday, Aug. 28, and continuing through Sept. 10, local volunteers will be handing out $1 bills to drivers who have all occupants buckled up securely in their vehicle.
"Bucks for Buckles" is being held in 53 cities across Kansas as residents hit the roadways and head to one last getaway as Labor Day approaches and the school year begins. It is sponsored by Safe Kids Kansas, State Farm and the Kansas Department of Transportation. The sponsors want to encourage families to buckle up and drive safely to protect their most valuable asset, their families, said Ginger Cotten at Kathy Burt’s State Farm Insurance office in Hoisington.
Since the purpose of this promotion is to increase awareness, the volunteers will also have something for those who don’t buckle up. Those riding unrestrained will receive educational materials about the effectiveness of seat belts and child safety seats in saving lives and reducing injuries.
"No one can predict when they will be involved in a motor vehicle crash, yet almost all of us will be involved in an automobile crash in our lifetime. Last year, 428 people lost their lives on Kansas roadways and 59 percent of them were unbuckled," said Cherie Sage, state director for Safe Kids Kansas. "The single most effective means of protecting the lives of you and your passengers is wearing seat belts and using appropriate child restraints every time you ride in the vehicle – even short distances."
According to the 2010 KDOT Safety Belt survey, only 82 percent of those surveyed, ages 14 and older, were wearing their seat belt. This compares to the national average of 85 percent. In 2009, Kansas ranked 43rd in the nation in seat belt usage.
"It is important that Kansans get the message that seat belts save lives," Sage said. "An average of 93 people die each day in motor vehicle crashes nationally; that’s an average of one death every 16 minutes. This is unacceptable."
For more information about safety belt or child safety seat use, call 785-296-1223 or visitwww.safekidskansas.org and www.safekids.org.