Over the next two weeks, drivers in Lawrence who have all of their passengers safely buckled up stand to be rewarded with a crisp one-dollar bill.
Volunteers working for the "Bucks for Buckles" program will be out in Lawrence from Sunday through Sept. 7, checking vehicles for seatbelt use and handing out the money. For those found not buckled up, the volunteers will have some education materials about the effectiveness of seat-belts and child safety seats. In years past, the volunteers have distributed about $250 in the Lawrence area.
The program, organized and funded by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Safe Kids Kansas program, the Kansas Department of Transportation and State Farm insurance company, is meant to promote passenger safety, especially for children, during the busy travel season around Labor Day. The volunteers also will be handing out dollars and safety information in 36 other cities across Kansas.
The program seeks to remind drivers that no one can predict when they will be in an accident. Last year, 174 people died in vehicle accidents in Kansas. The year before, 382 were killed, and half of those were not wearing seatbelts, according to KDOT statistics.
A KDOT study showed that Douglas County led the state last year in seatbelt use among children, with 95 percent buckling up.