The Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office reports that of the hundreds of crash related deaths that have occurred in Kansas, almost 70 percent of them were not wearing a seat belt. According to a 2011 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,384 lives could be saved if seat belts had been worn. As of 2013, Kansas has an 81 percent seat belt usage rate.
That’s good, but not good enough.
While more and more Kansans have been buckling up, scores of citations are still being issued to drivers in the state who aren’t wearing their seat belts. Dave Corp, law enforcement liaison for the Kansas Department of Transportation, said seat belt usage has steadily climbed over recent years and is now at 81 percent statewide, according to the Associated Press.
The NHTSA said nationwide, 87 percent of people fastened their seat belts in 2013, and that Kansas ranked 40th on the list.
Here are some quick Kansas statistics:
• Women are more likely to be belted than men.
• Trucks, which account for about one in five vehicles observed, produce a substantially lower belt use rate (75 percent) than other vehicles (91 percent-93 percent).
• Male truck drivers are the lowest single category of belt users (73 percent).
• Rural counties tend to produce a lower belt use rate than urban counties.
• The more “local” the trip, the less likely occupants are to be buckled up.
With the summer travel season upon us, there will be more of us out on the roads. We can’t control what other drivers do, but we can control what we do.
It just takes one simple step to make each trip a little safer.
So, listen to that buzz or beep or ding when starting a car and don’t ignore that flashing light on the dash.