Beginning February 24 through March 7 the Brown County Sheriffs Office, Horton and Hiawatha Police Departments and the Kansas Highway Patrol will participate in the statewide seat belt enforcement that focuses on teenage driver and occupant safety.
These entities will be patrolling school zones in search of drivers and passengers who are not wearing seat belts. Citations will be issued to all drivers and passengers who are not wearing seat belts.
The purpose of this program is to educate the young drivers and passengers on the importance of seat belt usage.
Several weeks ago I reported on two roll over accidents involving teenage drivers in Brown County. Both walked away from these potentially deadly accidents. Both were reported wearing their seat belts. I am a firm believer that had neither driver been wearing their seat belt, we would have worked an accident involving a serious injury or fatality.
Statistics have proven that if you are involved in an accident you lessen your chance of becoming seriously injured or killed by over 70% just by wearing your seat belt. Our goal is to help provide safety incentives and interdiction’s to make sure teenage drivers and their passengers get the chance to grow up to be adults and enjoy a long healthy life.
Both Horton and Hiawatha schools have participated in the SAFE program for the last 4 years. SAFE stands for “Seatbelts Are For Everyone” and is mostly funded by the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office. Students sign pledge cards stating they will wear their seatbelts at all times. Each month several names are drawn from the group of cards and students are awarded $25 gift cards simply by wearing their seatbelts. If a student is issued a citation for not wearing their seatbelt they are ineligible for that months drawing. At the end of the year several grand prizes are awarded to students from both schools.
This program is designed to provide positive peer pressure with the students and there have been many positive comments from the students, school personnel and parents. I’ve had a number of parents thanking us for this program and commented that their students, make it a point to let everyone know the importance of wearing seatbelts.
If we can help save a life or prevent serious injury the program is well worth the effort.
I encourage anyone with questions, comments or concerns to speak with their local law enforcement agency.