News Release

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Talking Points Regarding Seatbelt Usage

Date of News Release: 01/12/2005

  • 957 Individuals died in KY crashes in 2004. (preliminary data)
  • In Kentucky, 67% of vehicle occupants killed in 2003 were not restrained.
  • Kentucky's observational usage rate for 2004 was 66%. The national AVERAGE is 80%.
  • Kentucky's 2003 death rate (per 100 million vehicle miles traveled) was 2.0, while the national average was 1.5. The national goal is 1.0 by 2008.
  • In 2003, 78 percent of vehicle occupants who were either totally or partially ejected were killed. This data also reaffirms the lifesaving advantage of using an active restraint, since the possibility of being ejected upon impact is significantly reduced.
  • Kentucky has the 5th lowest seatbelt use in the United States.
  • 21 states and the District of Columbia have enacted primary legislation regarding safety belts.
  • Lap/shoulder belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.
  • In 1994, when the current seatbelt legislation was enacted, Kentucky's usage rate increased 16 percent from 42 percent in 1993 to 58% in 1994. Fatalities also decreased by 84 from 875 in 1993 to 791 in 1994.
  • On average, only 50.7 percent of Kentucky's pickup truck occupants buckle up.
  • In 2004, the lowest usage rates were seen on rural collector and local roads. In 2003, 76 percent of Kentucky fatalities occurred on rural roads.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), if Kentucky passes primary legislation:
  • Expect average safety belt use increase of 11 percentage points (66% to 77%)
  • Save 62 lives
  • Prevent 740 serious injuries
  • Experience cost savings of $148 million.
  • There is no cost impact upon the commonwealth to enact this legislation.
  • The goal of this legislation is to save lives and data affirms primary states' usage rates increase without dramatic increases in enforcement.

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