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Kentucky Enforces "Primary" Seatbelt Law in 2007

Date of News Release: 01/08/07

(Frankfort, KY.) - Beginning January 1, 2007, law enforcement around the state will be handing out tickets rather than "courtesy warnings" to motorists caught not wearing their seat belts. On that date, the six-month grace period built into the "primary seat belt law" (KRS 189.125) ends and violators will be subject to a fine not to exceed $25. Previously, Kentucky's seat belt law only allowed officers to cite for this violation if motorists were pulled over for another traffic violation. Law enforcement can now stop a vehicle solely for an occupant restraint violation.

"Too many people, especially teens, young male drivers (age 18 to 34) and pickup truck drivers still take the attitude 'it will never happen to me'," said Commissioner Jack Adams. "But deadly crashes can and do happen everyday. That's why we are reminding everyone that seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect yourself, as well as those you love, in a crash" added Adams.

Regina Hennequant of Radcliff, Ky., will never forget how her 17-year-old son's failure to wear a seat belt on November 20, 2006, changed the lives of her family. Daniel "Boone" Redmon was in a hurry and made a fatal mistake.

"Because he didn't take the five seconds to put on his seatbelt, Boone lost his life and I lost my baby," said Hennequant.

Vine Grove police said Redmon was fatally injured when his head struck the passenger door after being thrown across the front seat.

"The loss of Boone has had a powerful impact within our community. Several people have come to me and said they are thinking about what happened to Boone and buckling up, before starting their car," added Hennequant.

Unfortunately, each year there are many tragic stories like that of Boone Redmon. That is why Governor Ernie Fletcher felt so strongly about the passage of a primary seatbelt law in Kentucky. "It is my hope and belief that the new law will save lives. When an unfortunate automobile accident occurs, sometimes the difference between life and death is a seat belt," said Governor Fletcher. "I urge everyone to do their part: drive safely, watch out for others and buckle up. It may save your life."

In Kentucky last year, 985 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents. Of those accidents, 67 percent of the occupants were not wearing their seatbelts. Research has shown that seatbelts, when used properly, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45 percent.

"Don't become a tragic statistic," said Sherry Bray, GHSP Media Coordinator. "The New Year's Holiday is a time to make resolutions that improve your life. The Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) hopes that all Kentuckians will resolve to wear their seatbelts in 2007."

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