In 2015, according to Kansas Department of Transportation statistics, Kansas tragically lost 13 high school teens in motor vehicle crashes. Of those teens, nearly 40 percent were not properly restrained.
Even more tragic is the fact that most of these deaths could have been prevented.
Beginning Feb. 29 and running through March 13, the Kansas Highway Patrol and area law enforcement agencies will participate in the annual “High Visibility Seatbelt Enforcement Campaign” around area high schools. This initiative is coupled with the Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE) program in Kansas high schools. SAFE is a locally sustained program, administered by the students of the high school they attend, and it focuses on reducing death and injury on Kansas roadways. Currently, 144 high schools from 61 counties participate in the SAFE program statewide.
The KDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety and Technology is spearheading this two-week awareness campaign in hopes of decreasing serious injuries and crash fatalities to teens by increasing seatbelt usage. KDOT and law enforcement partners across the state have spent over 20 years educating Kansas teens on the dangers of driving or riding without a seatbelt.
In 2015, the observed seat belt rate in Kansas for the ages of 15-17 was 85 percent. The seatbelt usage rate for the same age group was 61 percent in 2008-09, demonstrating the SAFE program is making a difference for Kansas youth.
“Troopers will be working with local law enforcement partners in an aggressive education and enforcement campaign focused on the importance of seat belt usage,” said Mark Bruce, Superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol. “Seatbelts have been proven to save lives and prevent injuries, and our goal is to make sure all young adults buckle up in all seating positions.”
Let’s use this campaign to instill in all of us the need to buckle up and be safe.