Officers to crack down on motorists not wearing seat belts during Memorial Day weekend

Law enforcement officers in Kansas will be giving out tickets to people who aren’t wearing seat belts over the Memorial Day weekend.

According to a news release from the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Click It or Ticket campaign will run from May 20 through June 2 in Kansas.

Officers from many agencies will step up enforcement during the Memorial Day weekend.

According to a spokesman, in 2017 more than half of Kansas traffic fatalities were from unrestrained drivers or passengers.

“The Click it. Or ticket. campaign isn’t about issuing citations, it’s about saving lives,” said Technical Trooper Ben Gardner, of the Kansas Highway Patrol “Too many people die in motor vehicle crashes who could have survived if they had only buckled up.”

It is prohibited to drive or ride as a passenger in a motor vehicle without wearing a seat belt, a spokesman said. Fifty-three percent of the 316 deaths from automobile crashes in Kansas in 2017 involved persons who were not wearing seat belts. Pickup truck drivers, young adults and males are among some of the worst offenders and most at-risk, according to a spokesman.

“Frustratingly, there are still people out there who do not take that extra second to buckle up,” said Chris Bortz, KDOT traffic safety program manager. “Any adult not wearing their seat belt could be issued a $30 traffic citation. Make a better decision and buckle up, every trip, every time.”

In 2018, the Kansas observed seat belt usage was 84 percent, below the national average of 90 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Education coupled with enforcement can raise this rate and ultimately save lives, according to a spokesman.

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