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Buckle up!
Program calls attention to the importance of seat belts
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Why buckle up?
You’re just going to make a quick trip to the store.
You’re just driving a few blocks to work.
You’re just driving to school.
Sure, these trips are short, but accidents can happen close to home just as easily as they can happen far away. And, now, the likelihood of getting a ticket for not wearing a seat belt may be greater close to your driveway.
In 2014, 34 teens lost their lives in car accidents in Kansas, 63 percent of those teens were not seat belt restrained. In an effort to change this trend, law enforcement across Kansas will be extra vigilant when patrolling around schools.
So. for the two-week enforcement period starting Monday, Great Bend police officers will issue citations to any individual who refuses to obey the law, whether it is for speeding, texting, or failing to buckle up.
“For more than 30 years, officers have educated and warned passengers and drivers regarding the importance of using restraints while in the vehicle,” said GBPD school liaison officer Jefferson Davis. “There should be no surprise when in comes to this enforcement effort.”
The Great Bend Police Department is taking part in the SAFE (Seat belts Are For Everyone) program through March 6. The program began in Crawford County Kansas in 2008, and since that time over 35 counties in Kansas have participated in this enforcement effort. 
The idea is to increase education and enforcement on seat belt laws, said Colonel Mark Bruce, Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent. The Kansas Department of Transportation, the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office and law enforcement partners across the state have spent more than 20 years educating Kansas teens on the dangers of driving unrestrained.
 “The goal of SAFE is to increase seat belt use among students while providing strong traffic safety messages throughout the school year,” Bruce said.
“Our priority is to keep motorists of all ages safe as they travel to and from their destinations. It is our hope that by encouraging students to wear their seat belts, this will begin a lifelong practice, which will help keep them safe in the years to come,” Bruce, said. “The SAFE program has already seen life-saving results over the past few years, and we hope these good results will keep building.”
Aimed at our youth, it is a message we could stand to hear.
Be safe.
Dale Hogg