Thanksgiving travelers reminded to buckle up

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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 buckle up, your risk of injury or death in a crash is greatly reduced. A seat belt is your best defense against an impaired, speeding or distracted driver.”

There were 1,331 crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday last year in Kentucky, resulting in 366 injuries and five fatalities. Of those fatalities, three involved alcohol and two were not wearing a seat belt.

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“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 seat belt law from 67.2 percent in 2006 to 86.8 percent in 2017. However, that is still below the national usage rate of 90.1 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 649 motor vehicle fatalities so far this year, 53.6 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.