TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – This Thanksgiving, the Kansas Department of Transportation and law enforcement agencies across the state are working around the clock to ensure Thanksgiving travelers are wearing their seat belts. The high-visibility Click It or Ticket campaign aims to reduce the number of fatalities that occur when vehicle passengers fail to buckle up.
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year. With thousands of Kansans travelling to visit friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday, the chances of being involved in a vehicle crash increase greatly, and wearing a seat belt could save your life. That’s why law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for unbuckled passengers. If they spot you, they will pull you over and issue a citation.
“Wearing a seat belt could truly be the difference between life and death,” said Chris Bortz, KDOT Traffic Safety Manager. “Tragically, more than half of the people who died in a fatal traffic crash during Thanksgiving 2015 were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Help us and our communities drive to zero fatalities on Kansas roadways this holiday season.”
During the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday period, 53-percent of those killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. Seat belt use may have prevented these tragic deaths. NHTSA research indicates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45-percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50-percent.
In 2015, seat belts saved the lives of 13,941 passenger vehicle occupants nationwide. If seat belt use had been at 100-percent, an additional 2,804 people would still be alive this Thanksgiving.
“Every day, we see the effects of unbuckled vehicle crashes,” said Lt. Adam Winters, Kansas Highway Patrol. “Whether you’re driving cross-country or across the street, you must wear your seat belt. This Thanksgiving and every day of the year, remember: Click it. Or ticket.”
Motorists are encouraged to take the following into consideration:
- Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Check tires’ tread depth and air pressure; check the vehicle’s fluids, exhaust system, and other mechanical equipment. If traveling in winter conditions, make sure added precautions are taken for the cold weather.
- Check your route of travel for road conditions and/or construction work or other delays before you leave. The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) provides a 511 road condition hotline for motorists to use. Call 5-1-1 from any phone, or visit www.kandrive.org to check roads in the state of Kansas.
- Remember, we are in the peak time for car-deer crashes in our state. Look out for deer, and if you see one, remember they seldom travel alone.
- If you’re celebrating and consuming alcohol, make sure you designate a sober driver beforehand, and give them your keys. If you have no ride, call a taxi or a family member to get you home safely.
- If travelers are in need of assistance on a Kansas highway, or to report a suspected impaired driver, they should call *47 (*HP) for the Kansas Highway Patrol, or dial *582 (*KTA) on the Kansas Turnpike. Dispatchers and troopers will both be working throughout the holiday weekend.