FRANKFORT – With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is joining in a national effort to send Thanksgiving travelers an important lifesaving reminder to buckle up – every trip, every time.
“The upcoming holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, so we’re asking motorists to always wear a seat belt,” said KOHS Executive Director Dr. Noelle Hunter. “If you are properly restrained, your risk of injury or death is greatly reduced.”
There were 1,645 crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday last year in Kentucky, resulting in more than 480 injuries and eight fatalities. Of those fatalities, six were in motor vehicles and three were not wearing a seat belt. One fatality was a motorcyclist and the other was a pedestrian.
“As we reflect on gratitude during this season of Thanksgiving, we asked fellow Kentuckians to share why they are thankful for their seat belt,” said Hunter. “These are actual examples of lives saved just by taking a few seconds to buckle up.”
Kentucky’s seat belt usage rate increased with the passage of the primary law from 67.2 percent in 2006 to 86.5 percent in 2016. However, that is still below the national usage rate of 88.5 percent.
“There is only so much the law can do,” said Hunter. “Personal responsibility behind the wheel is the key to saving more lives. We hope these stories will encourage motorists to use a seat belt – every trip, every time.”
Of the 686 motor vehicle fatalities so far this year, 50 percent were not restrained.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50 percent.