Local agencies part of Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign

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 LOUISVILLE - Motorists who refuse to wear their seat belts – beware. 

Law enforcement agencies in Louisville and surrounding counties are joining the 2014 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization on May 19 to help save lives by cracking down on those who don’t buckle up. 

The Shepherdsville Police Department will participate in the program locally.

“As motorists take to the roads to celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend, we want to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safe and sound,” Sgt. Kevin Hamlin of the Louisville Metro Police Department said.  “We’ll be out in force – day and night – prepared to ticket anyone not wearing a seat belt.”

Officers from several agencies were present at a campaign kick-off event today outside the University of Louisville Hospital emergency room entrance.

“When I walk into surgery it’s pretty easy to tell who didn’t click it,” said Dr. Glen Franklin, Medical Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit.  “Quite frankly, at the point we meet, a ticket is the least of your problems.  Seatbelts reduce serious injuries and save lives.”

There were 638 total highway fatalities in Kentucky in 2013, with 483 killed in motor vehicles.  Of those 483 fatalities, 278 were not wearing a seat belt.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety awarded more than $151,670 in federal funds to 39 state and local police agencies across the Commonwealth to help bolster seat belt enforcement during the campaign.  The funding is provided through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“There are too many people dying on our roads,” said KOHS Director Bill Bell.  “Many of those lives could have been saved with the simple snap of a seat belt.” 

Kentucky’s seat belt usage rate increased with the passage of the primary law from 67.2 percent in 2006 to 85 percent in 2013.  However, that is still below the national usage rate of 87 percent.