Lawrence residents aren't doing a very good job of buckling up, according to a recent state survey.
Although the survey showed that Kansas motorists are gradually increasing their use of seat belts, well less than half of Lawrence residents were following the trend.
While 52 percent of motorists statewide were buckling up, Lawrence had only 40.9 compliance with the state law that requires drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat belts.
The survey on which the statistics were based was done this year by observers from Kansas Safety Belt Education Office at Kansas State University and the state Department of Transportation who were stationed at major intersections in 13 communities, but not on freeways or rural roads.
In general, compliance was better in urban areas than in rural communities. Topeka led the state with a usage rate of 63.5 percent, and Manhattan was just behind with 62.1 percent. Lawrence's percentage also put it behind Kansas City, Kan., Wichita, Olathe and McPherson, but ahead of Hays, Abilene and Iola.
Perhaps these statistics would be a good target for a statewide contest sponsored by chambers of commerce or some other group. The local groups could promote seat-belt use in a competition with other cities to see who could get the highest compliance rate.
Whatever tactic is used, the state and cities should continue to urge seat belt use, not just because it is the law, but because it saves lives. Lawrence residents, especially, should try to raise their average before the next statewide survey is taken.