News Release

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Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780

KSP Seat Belt Crackdown Boosted by Unprecedented Investment
in Targeted Advertising to Reach those Least Likely to Buckle Up

(Richmond, KY) -  Kentucky teenagers and young adults are going to be surrounded with the strong message, "Buckle up Kentucky. It´s the law and it's enforced" as the Kentucky State Police join more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies in a nationwide crack down on seat belt violators. The message to teens and young adults will be seen and heard in television and radio ads, in Internet chat rooms, over public high school address systems, and through enforcement in locations where young people congregate - such as schools and shopping malls.

The two-week enforcement wave, which runs from May 19 through the Memorial Day holiday, will be supported by more than $20 million in state and national advertising. It is based on a proven public health model to increase belt use called "high visibility enforcement."

"The only proven way to achieve significant increases in belt use among young people and ultimately save lives, is through high visibility enforcement, including targeted and intense advertising to alert motorists of the enforcement," said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Patrick N. Simpson. "Teens and young adults are killed at far higher rates in crashes because they are caught in a lethal intersection of inexperience, risk taking and low safety belt use. These tragedies are predictable and therefore preventable, using proven techniques like high visibility enforcement mobilizations."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,341 teens, ages 16-20, died and thousands more were injured in traffic crashes in 2001. Fatality rates for teens are twice that of older drivers and the risk of crashes for teens is four times that of older drivers. Two out of five deaths among teens are the result of a traffic crash. In 2000, the estimated economic impact of police-reported crashes involving drivers between 15 and 20 years old was $32.8 billion.

During the Buckle Up Kentucky campaign, officers will intensify enforcement of safety belt laws and child passenger safety laws by setting up saturation patrols and traffic safety checkpoints in high crash locations across the commonwealth. Drivers failing to restrain themselves and their child passengers will be ticketed according to the law.

"Increased enforcement encourages motorists to buckle up - seat belt use in states that conduct high visibility enforcement is 10 to 15 percentage points higher than in states that simply conduct public education," said Commissioner Simpson.

High visibility enforcement relies on periods of intense enforcement of seat belt laws coupled with aggressive advertising and media outreach to let people know about the enforcement. For many non-seat belt users, and especially young people, the threat of a ticket has proven to be a greater inducement to buckle up than the threat of injury or death.

The Mobilization is conducted twice yearly by the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign of the National Safety Council in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, state highway safety offices, NHTSA and the NTSB. The Mobilization is also part of Buckle Up America, an ongoing NHTSA initiative to increase belt use and save lives.

The Kentucky State Police will once again be participating in Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). Operation CARE is about state law enforcement agencies who have joined together in the endeavor of reducing human suffering on our highways, particularly during the national holidays. Since 1977 several organizations have joined with Operation CARE in a combined effort to deter the three key causes of highway fatalities: speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.

All Kentucky State Police officers will operate their police vehicles with the headlights illuminated throughout the campaign as an added safety measure as well as to show the department's support for our military personnel. The public is encouraged to operate their vehicles with the headlights illuminated as well.

The enforcement period began at midnight on Monday, May 19, 2003 and continues through midnight on Sunday, June 1, 2003. All-American Buckle-Up Week is Monday, May 19, 2003 - Monday, May 28, 2003. The official Memorial Day Holiday Weekend begins at midnight on Friday, May 25, 2003 and runs through midnight on Monday, May 28, 2003

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