WICHITA, Kansas – Law enforcement agencies across the state are coming together to increase seat belt enforcement.
Beginning on February 24th through March 7th, agencies will participate in the Seat belts Are For Everyone (SAFE) initiative.
The annual program is geared towards enforcing the use of seat belts in teenage drivers and those around area high schools throughout the state.
Master Trooper David Monckton with Kansas Highway Patrol says the campaign is aimed at decreasing the alarming number of teen deaths in vehicle accidents.
“In 2012, 43 teens lost their lives due to crashes in Kansas, 74 percent of those teens were not properly restrained,” said Monckton.
Monckton says the program has been in place for about three years. In that time they’ve seen the number of teens wearing seat belts increase.
In 2013, the observed seat belt rate for teenagers, age 15 to 17 was 81 percent. This was a gradual increase from the 61 percent that was seen in this same age group between 2008 and 2009.
The SAFE initiative currently has 54 counties and 124 schools participating in this program across the state.