Patrol to work seatbelt enforcement near high schools across Kansas

 SAFE initiative helps increase teen seatbelt usage

Beginning today and running through March 6, the Kansas Highway Patrol will work on an annual seatbelt enforcement campaign around area high schools. The campaign is hosted by the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Traffic Safety Section, and is in conjunction with Kansas’ Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE) program.

In 2014, Kansas lost 34 teens (ages 13-19) in crashes, with 63 percent of those victims not being properly restrained. The hope of the enforcement is to work to increase education and enforcement on seatbelt laws.   KDOT, the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office and law enforcement partners across the state have spent more than 20 years educating Kansas teens on the dangers of driving without a seatbelt.

The Kansas SAFE program began in 2008 in southeast Kansas. It is a teen run, peer to peer program, focused on increasing teen restraint compliance through education, positive rewards, and enforcement. It is designed to bring awareness to the importance of wearing a seatbelt, reducing the number of motor vehicle-related injuries and fatalities among Kansas teens. The goal of SAFE is to increase seatbelt use among students while providing strong traffic safety messages throughout the school year.

“Our priority is to keep motorists of all ages safe as they travel to and from their destinations,” said Colonel Mark Bruce, KHP Superintendent. “It is our hope that by encouraging students to wear their seatbelts, this will begin a lifelong practice, which will help keep them safe in the years to come. The SAFE program has already seen life-saving results over the past few years, and we hope these good results will keep building.”

For the two-week enforcement period, troopers and other officers will work near local high schools. Anyone caught not properly restrained could be issued a citation. For more information on the SAFE Program, see http://www.ktsro.org/safe.

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