31, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- "Buckle Up Kentucky" Month officially commenced today
during a press conference on the University of Kentucky
Campus at the Kentucky Clinic.
Cabinet Secretary James C. Codell, III read the proclamation
for the governor stating, "…whereas, increasing seatbelt
usage is the most inexpensive and effective way to
reduce our highway death toll and to reduce injuries…therefore,
I Paul E. Patton, Governor of the Commonwealth of
Kentucky, do hereby proclaim February 2002 as Buckle
Up Kentucky Month in Kentucky."
and organizations throughout the state concerned with
highway safety attended the event held at the Kentucky
Clinic to demonstrate their of seatbelt usage.
crashes in Kentucky claimed the lives of over 846
people and injured countless others during 2001. Only
29% of those individuals were wearing seatbelts and
it is estimated that at least 200 of these lives would
have been saved if they had been wearing one.
has one of the lowest seatbelt usage rates in the
nation at 62% compared to a national average of 73%.
vehicle collisions account for the majority of the
trauma patients we see at the University and proper
restrain use can significantly impact the severity
of injury incurred. Unrestrained patients die at twice
the rate of those who are restrained," said Colleen
Swartz, R.N., Director of Trauma and Emergency Services,
State Police, Transportation Cabinet and Governor's
Coalition for Highway will conduct a variety of educational
programs during the month of February, encouraging
Kentuckians to buckle up. These educational programs
include contests and activities for school age children,
special community events and a media campaign. National
Child Passenger Safety Week also occurs in February
and numerous child safety seat clinics and activities
have been scheduled for this time period as well.
Kentuckians on the value of wearing safety belts,
we are taking a proactive approach in preventing vehicle
crashes from becoming fatal crashes," stated Commissioner
Ishmon Burks. "Voluntary compliance is the key. The
public must understand the importance and actually
wear their safety belts."
Haydon, sponsor of the primary seatbelt law being
considered by the 2002 General Assembly, was also
on hand to encourage constituents to contact their
legislators about this lifesaving piece of legislation.
A primary seatbelt law would allow enforcement officers
effectively enforce Kentucky's seatbelt law with the
goal of increasing usage and saving lives.
seatbelt law would save approximately 75 lives a year,"
said Rep. Haydon. "Tell me, what else can we do that
will save so many lives and not cost the people of
Kentucky any additional dollars?"
County Sheriff Kathy Witt echoed Haydon's remarks
stating, "I applaud Governor Patton for stepping forward
to strongly support strengthening his previous legislation
on seat belt usage. Without question, this Commonwealth
needs to improve upon legislation that could save
75 lives on Kentucky roads each year and cost nothing.
I say, 'Let's roll!'"
press conference, the Governor's Office For Highway
Safety demonstrated their rollover simulator to the
crowd. The simulator duplicates the traumatic effect
that overturning has on vehicle occupants, even at
relatively low speeds. This is one of the many tools
the Kentucky State Police uses to reinforce the importance
of seatbelt usage. The rollover simulator is especially
effective due to the fact that opponents of seatbelts
frequently use the argument that by not wearing a
seatbelt you may be thrown from a car during a crash
and escape injury. However, records indicate that
86% of vehicle occupants who were either totally or
partially ejected in car crashes during 2000 were
the first thirty days of 2002, 74 people have been
killed on Kentucky's roadways. Preliminary reports
show that only 25 of these victims were wearing a