Thousands of vehicles will be traveling the Kansas roadways during the Labor Day weekend. Many families will head out on one last camping trip or getaway as the school year begins. Safe Kids Kansas, State Farm and the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) want to encourage families to buckle up and drive safely to protect their most valuable asset, their families.
This year, Aug. 24 through Sept. 6, a safety belt awareness campaign called “Bucks for Buckles” is being held in 43 cities across Kansas, including Overland Park, Kansas City, Kan., Eudora, and Shawnee. One dollar bills are being distributed by local volunteers to drivers who have all occupants buckled up securely in their vehicle. 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. In 2013, 348 people lost their lives on Kansas roadways and 55 percent of them were unbuckled,” said Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas. “The most effective way to protect the lives of you and your passengers is to wear seat belts and use appropriate child restraints every time you ride in the vehicle – even short distances.”
According to the 2013 KDOT Seat Belt Survey, only 81 percent of those surveyed were wearing their seat belts. This compares to the national average of 87 percent. In 2013, Kansas ranked 40th in the nation in seat belt usage.
An average of 92 people die each day in motor vehicle crashes nationally; that’s an average of one death every 16 minutes. “Even with advanced safety technology being integrated into vehicle design, seat belts remain the single most effective device you can use to save your life during a vehicle crash,” said Sage. “They also reduce your chances of having a serious injury by as much as 50 percent. It’s such a simple thing, so take your life into your own hand and buckle up.”