TOPEKA – Thousands of vehicles will travel the Kansas roadways during the Labor Day weekend. Many families will head out on one last trip or getaway as the school year begins. Safe Kids Kansas, sponsored in part by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, State Farm and the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), wants to encourage families to buckle up and drive safely to protect their most valuable asset, their families.
This year, from August 25 through September 10, a safety belt awareness campaign called “Bucks for Buckles” is being held in 39 cities across Kansas. Local volunteers distribute dollar bills to drivers with 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 2021, 424 people lost their lives on Kansas roadways, and 54 percent were unbuckled,” said Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas. “The single most effective means of protecting the lives of you and your passengers is wearing seat belts and using appropriate child restraints every time you ride in the vehicle – even short distances.”
According to the 2022 KDOT Seat Belt Survey, 87 percent of Kansans surveyed wore seat belts. This compares to the national average of 90 percent based on the most recent NHTSA National Occupant Protection Use Survey in 2021. Kansas ranked 38 in belt use in 2021 among 50 states and the District of Columbia. Seat belts save more than 15,000 lives yearly and are the best defense against drunk, aggressive and distracted drivers.
“Seat belts are the single most effective device you can use to save your life during a vehicle crash,” said Sage. “They also reduce your chances of serious injury by as much as 50 percent. It’s simple, so take your life into your own hands and buckle up.”