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2014-01
NEWS RELEASE:February 17, 2014
FROM:   The Kansas Highway Patrol
CONTACT: Lieutenant Joshua Kellerman, (785) 296-6800

Troopers Join Seatbelt Enforcement Campaign Near Kansas High Schools

Enforcement will run during February and March

Beginning February 24, and running through March 7, 2014, the Kansas Highway Patrol will participate in an annual seatbelt enforcement campaign around area high schools. The SAFE initiative (Seatbelts Are For Everyone) is a program administered by the students of the high school they attend. Currently, 54 counties totaling 124 schools participate in the program statewide.

In 2012, according to Kansas Department of Transportation statistics, Kansas tragically lost 43 teens in vehicle crashes, 74% of whom were not properly restrained. The KDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety and Technology is hosting this two-week awareness campaign in hopes of decreasing that number, and increasing seatbelt usage. KDOT and law enforcement partners across the state have spent over 20 years educating Kansas teens on the dangers of driving without a seatbelt.

In 2013, the observed seat belt rate for the ages of 15-17 was 81%. To put this into perspective, the rate for the same age group was 61% in 2008-09. This program is making a difference for our youths.

"Troopers will be working with local law enforcement partners in an aggressive campaign focused around area schools to educate and enforce seat belt laws," said Colonel Ernest E. Garcia, Superintendent of the Patrol. "Seatbelts have been proven to save lives and prevent injuries and our goal is to make sure all young drivers buckle up."

For the two-week enforcement period, State Troopers and other law enforcement officers will be extra-vigilant when patrolling around schools. There should be no surprise when it comes to this enforcement initiative and officers will be targeting motorists who refuse to obey traffic laws. Anyone caught not properly restrained will be issued a citation.