ASHLAND, Ky. – Don’t be surprised to see lots of blue lights Tuesday afternoon along highways from Ashland, Ky., to Ironton as tri-state emergency responders kick off the national Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign.
The campaign, aimed at increasing seat belt usage through traffic safety checkpoints and enforcement patrols, occurs annually around the Memorial Day holiday, this year May 21 to June 3.
Before the campaign begins, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) – in partnership with the Ohio Traffic Safety Office and the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program – will host a briefing Tuesday in Ashland for all law enforcement participants.
After the briefing, around 1 p.m. Tuesday, law enforcement and area emergency responders will conduct an honor procession from downtown Ashland across the Ohio River to Ironton – a caravan of vehicles from all three states joining together to raise awareness that seat belts save lives and to kick off Click It or Ticket at a news conference at Ohio University.
“Our mission is to save lives and reduce injuries by getting more people to buckle up,” Ashland Police Chief Todd Kelley said. “We would rather make the traffic stop than the notification to tell a family that their loved one has died in a crash.”
Of the 597 motor vehicle fatalities in Kentucky last year, 52 percent (308) were not wearing a seat belt.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that buckling up in a car can reduce the risk of a fatal injury by 45 percent. As seat belt usage rates go up, the fatality and serious injury rates go down.
In 2016, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,668 lives of occupants ages 5 and older. That’s why NHTSA’s Click It or Ticket campaign focuses nationally on safety education, enforcement of seat belt laws and officers raising awareness that seat belts save lives.
To learn more, visit NHTSA’s Seat Belts web page at www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts.