Law enforcement are stepping up efforts beginning this week on seatbelt enforcement around schools.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, they along with other law enforcement agencies are participating in the annual “High Visibility Seat Belt Enforcement Campaign” around area high schools.
The initiative is coupled with the Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE) program in Kansas high schools. SAFE is a locally sustained program, administered by the students of the high school they attend, and focuses on reducing deaths and injuries on Kansas roadways. Currently, 152 high schools from 66 counties participate in the SAFE program statewide. Salina and Saline County schools are among those participating.
In 2015, according to Kansas Department of Transportation statistics, Kansas lost 13 high school teens in motor vehicle crashes. Of those teens, nearly 40 percent were not properly restrained. The KDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety and Technology is spearheading this two-week awareness campaign in hopes of decreasing serious injuries and crash fatalities to teens by increasing seat belt usage. KDOT and law enforcement partners across the state have spent over 20 years educating Kansas teens on the dangers of driving or riding without a seat belt.
In 2015, the observed seat belt rate in Kansas for the ages of 15-17 was 85%. The seat belt usage rate for the same age group was 61% in 2008-09, demonstrating the SAFE program is making a difference for Kansas youth.
The seatbelt enforcement effort began Monday, and goes through March 5th.