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For anyone who complains about getting a ticket for not buckling up when driving or riding in a motor vehicle, here’s a crash course in reality:
• 721 people were killed on Kentucky’s roadways in 2011.
• 58 percent of those killed were not wearing a seat belt.
• When worn correctly, seat belts are proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45 percent and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans.
While those may sound like just statistics, those of us at the Campbellsville Police Department know from personal experience that those numbers are the actual faces of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles and friends right here in Kentucky. We tell too many families about losses that may have been prevented had a loved one only worn a seat belt.
This goes to the heart of our mission to protect the public. That is why we have joined with thousands of state and local law enforcement and other highway safety agencies nationwide to support the 2012 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization running May 20 to June 3.
The good news is Kentucky’s seat belt usage rate increased with the passage of the primary law from 67 percent in 2006 to 82 percent in 2011. However, that is still below the national usage rate of 84 percent. Seat belts save lives, but must be used to do so.
People often ask, “Aren’t there more serious criminals on the street other than those who simply are not buckling up? They’re not hurting anyone but themselves.”
To the contrary, the people who choose to disobey the law by not wearing their seat belts are taking a chance with not only their lives, but the emotional and financial health of their families, friends and our community.
Death may be the ultimate consequence for not wearing a seat belt, but even for those who escape a fatal crash, the economic costs of injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes are staggering. Every year motor vehicle crashes cost our country an estimated $230.6 billion. That equals more than $800 per person per year.
Yes, this is a national problem, but law enforcement and first responders see the local faces at too many crash scenes. So, it begins right here in Kentucky.
Law enforcement will be out in force to show our dedication to solving this problem. We want 100 percent of motorists to buckle up.
Buckling up costs you nothing, but the costs of NOT buckling up may be a ticket, or worse — your life. Treat this as a tough and potentially life-saving reminder: Click It or Ticket.
Chief Tim Hazlette
Campbellsville Police Department