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Master Trooper Joe Veeneman
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Special 'Click It or Ticket' enforcement during this Thanksgiving holiday

Date of News Release: 11/17/2011

(Morehead, Ky.) -- With the holidays upon us, millions of Americans are hitting the road to visit with family and friends. The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) wants every celebration to be a joyous occasion, so travelers are reminded that state and local law enforcement will be out in force through the Thanksgiving weekend, sending the strong message to "Click It or Ticket."

"No one wants to start off the holidays with a ticket," said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock. "Save your money for holiday celebrations and buying presents for loved ones. Don't throw it away simply because you failed to buckle up."

While seat belt use is at a record high of 85 percent nationwide, Kentucky lags behind with an 82 percent usage rate. There were 760 total highway fatalities in Kentucky in 2010, with 598 killed in motor vehicles. Of those 598 fatalities, 62.5 percent were not wearing a seat belt.

KOHS Acting Director Bill Bell said the campaign this year will place extra emphasis on nighttime enforcement, since that is when passenger vehicle occupants are least likely to buckle up and most likely to die in crashes.

"Wearing a seat belt only takes a second and costs you nothing, but not wearing it could cost you a ticket or worse…your life," said Bell. "We want all drivers and passengers to 'Click It or Ticket,' day and night."

In Kentucky last year there were 1,305 crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday, resulting in 405 injuries and nine fatalities. Of those fatalities, four were unrestrained.

"Sadly, the holidays, which for many are the happiest time of the year, is also one of the deadliest and most tragic," said Bell. "Clearly this is an indication that people are just not aware of the huge risk taken by not buckling up."

Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.

For more information about the "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement campaign for highway safety during Thanksgiving, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov and http://highwaysafety.ky.gov.

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