Local

August 22, 2014

Buckle up and you could get a buck as part of Kansas seat belt awareness campaign

Beginning Sunday, local volunteers will distribute $1 bills to drivers who have all occupants buckled up securely in their vehicles.

Wearing a seat belt – and making sure passengers wear theirs – could pay off for Kansas motorists in coming weeks.

Beginning Sunday and continuing through Saturday 6, a safety belt awareness campaign called “Bucks for Buckles” is being held in 43 cities across Kansas.

Local volunteers will distribute $1 bills at random intersections to drivers who have all occupants buckled up securely in their vehicles. Those riding unrestrained will receive educational materials about the effectiveness of seat belts and child safety seats in saving lives and reducing injuries.

The event, sponsored by Safe Kids Kansas, State Farm and the Kansas Department of Transportation, aims to encourage those traveling roadways over Labor Day weekend to buckle up and drive safely.

“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, said Cherie Sage, state director for Safe Kids Kansas, in a news release.

“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.”

Last year, 348 people died in traffic accidents on Kansas roadways, Sage said. More than half were unbuckled.

According to a 2013 survey by KDOT, only 81 percent of Kansas drivers wear their seat belts, compared to the national average of 87 percent. Kansas ranks 40th in the nation for seat belt usage.

For more information about safety belt or child safety seat use, call 785-296-1223, or visit www.safekidskansas.org or www.safekids.org.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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