Archive for Tuesday, May 16, 2006

State seat-belt campaigns target truck drivers

May 16, 2006

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State officials Monday announced a stepped-up effort to get more motorists in Kansas to wear their safety belts, especially pickup truck drivers.

"The goal of this is pretty simple," said Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. "To save lives."

The "Click It or Ticket" and "Buckle Up in Your Truck" campaigns will run as part of a national effort from May 24 through June 2.

The campaigns will include radio and television advertisements handled by Corporate Communications Group, a private consultant, and extra enforcement throughout the state.

Last year, 69 percent of Kansas drivers were observed wearing seat belts during surveys, while the national average is 82 percent. Of Kansas' 429 traffic fatalities in 2005, 70 percent were unrestrained.

The survey also showed 52 percent of pickup drivers in Kansas were using seat belts, compared with 73 percent nationwide.

"We see a real weakness in those and a high fatality rate that we are not willing to accept," Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller said of the pickup truck drivers' seat-belt usage.

Pickup trucks also are twice as likely to roll over as cars, and when pickup drivers in rural areas don't wear their seat belts, they are at an added risk because of the additional time it takes for emergency services to reach isolated areas, officials said.

As part of its effort to raise public awareness, a public relations firm hired by the state sent out press packets that included toy trucks. A survey showed pickup drivers are less likely to use seat belts. The awareness campaign is funded with $300,000 from the federal government.

As part of its effort to raise public awareness, a public relations firm hired by the state sent out press packets that included toy trucks. A survey showed pickup drivers are less likely to use seat belts. The awareness campaign is funded with $300,000 from the federal government.

Perhaps to get the attention of young male pickup drivers, the campaign is enlisting the help of Danni Boatwright, the Tonganoxie native who won "Survivor: Guatemala."

Boatwright appeared at the news conference urging Kansans to use their seat belts.

She recalled that several years before appearing on "Survivor," she was in a car wreck and hadn't been wearing her seat belt, but instead was lying in the back seat trying to rest. She broke her collarbone and dislocated a shoulder.

"That was a real eye-opener," she said.

Much of the campaign is being handled by Corporate Communications Group and is federally funded.

Pete Bodyk, chief of the Bureau of Traffic Safety with the Kansas Department of Transportation, said placement of the ads cost approximately $300,000.

He said Corporate Communications has a one-year contract with KDOT for $750,000, with the possibility of four one-year renewals. For that, the group will handle the seat belt campaign, child car seat campaign and the campaign to reduce drinking and driving that will run from the middle of August to Labor Day.

More on seat belt safety

The additional enforcement in Kansas to get more people buckled up will cost approximately $450,000, he said.

While law enforcement officers nationwide warn motorists to "Click it or ticket," in Kansas it's not that cut and dried.

In Kansas, adults can't be ticketed simply for not wearing their seat belts.

If they are caught not wearing seat belts after being stopped for something else, then they can be fined. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $10 plus $60 court costs.

Comments

erichaar 9 years, 1 month ago

Never downplay the importance of civil liberties, individual choice and small, less-obtrusive government. Seat belt laws for adults threaten all of these.

What's next, helmet laws for motorcyclists? Wait, they already have that in Missouri.

Ken Miller 9 years, 1 month ago

The key to get Kansans to wear seatbelts is to make not wearing them a "primary" infraction - that is, a stand-alone infraction with no need for a law enforcement officer to have another reason for the initial traffic stop. A smart legislator with some guts should craft legislation on this issue AND restricting cell phone use while driving. Sorry, but this time "civil liberties" needs to take a back seat to public safety.

trinity 9 years, 1 month ago

i drive a pickup...rarely wear my belt. sigh what next.

has anybody seen those cheezy commercials yet?? omg...at the very least they could have gotten whatever actor is portraying the cop to wear the french blues of the KHP or our county Sheriff guys!!

Confrontation 9 years, 1 month ago

I just figure that adults who don't wear their seat belts help clean out the gene pool.

leexra 9 years, 1 month ago

Confrontation - I completely agree with you. If you want to be ignorant and not "buckle up" then you can pay the price if you have a traffic accident. I don't wear my seatbelt for fear of a traffic ticket.

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