The state of Kansas cashed in on the recent passage of the primary seat belt law.
During a ceremony Tuesday in Topeka, Gov. Mark Parkinson accepted an $11.2 million check from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in connection to the law.
Passed by the state Legislature this year and enforced since June 30, the primary seat belt law allows law enforcement officers to stop vehicles and issue tickets if the driver or the front seat passenger is not wearing a seat belt. The law also applies to anyone under the age of 18.
Before now, drivers could be ticketed only if law enforcement officers had stopped them on another traffic offense.
Attending the ceremony at the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Gage Maintenance Complex were people who see the life-saving benefits of seat belts everyday - area paramedics, fire fighters and law enforcement.
“It has been a difficult struggle, the progress has been steady and the results have been amazing. Literally hundreds of thousands of people are alive that wouldn’t be if this fight hadn’t been undertaken,” Parkinson said about passage of a number of seat belt laws during the past several decades.
The number of lives that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Deputy Administrator Ronald Medford estimates will be saved each year in Kansas as a result of the primary seat belt law.
The number of serious injuries that Medford predicts will be prevented with the new law.
The amount Kansas received from the Nation Highway Traffic Safety Administration as an incentive to pass the primary seat belt law. The state is required to spend $1 million on safety education programs and the rest will go toward road construction projects to make the highways safer.
The percent of Kansans already wearing seat belts.
The percent seat belt usage is expected to go up under the new law.
The percent accident fatalities in Kansas are expected to go down.
The number of states that have primary seat belt laws.
The fine drivers have to pay if they, someone in the front seat of their vehicle or anyone under the age of 18 doesn’t wear a seat belt. Next year the fine will increase to $10.
How long Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller said she has worked to get a primary seat belt law passed.