Beginning this past Monday and continuing through Sunday, June 2, travelers can expect increased police presence on Lyon County roadways as the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office joins 180 other law enforcement agencies in aggressively enforcing Kansas occupant restraint and other traffic laws as part of the 2019 Kansas Click It or Ticket campaign.

This activity is supported by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Enforcement will occur around the clock because seatbelt use diminishes after nightfall, meaning the likelihood of unbelted crash injuries and deaths soars during those hours.

Drivers will be confronted with strict enforcement of both the Kansas Safety Belt Use Act and the Kansas Child Passenger Safety Act. These statutes require that all vehicle occupants must be appropriately restrained. Law enforcement officers can stop vehicles and issue tickets when they observe occupants riding unrestrained or without proper restraint.

Occupants, ages 14 and over, are cited individually. If a passenger under the age of 14 is observed to be unrestrained the driver will be cited. The fine for an adult (18-plus) seat belt violation is $30. The fine for a youth (14-17) violation is $60, while the fine for a child (0-13) restraint violation is $60 plus a court cost charge of as much as $108.

Children under the age of four must be correctly secured in an approved child safety seat. Children, ages 4 through 7 must be securely belted into an approved booster seat unless taller than 4 feet, 9 inches or heavier than 80 pounds, in which case, the booster may be removed, and the child belted in without it. Children, ages 8 through 13, must be safety-belted.

In addition, Kansas law prohibits persons under the age of 14 from riding in any part of a vehicle not intended for carrying passengers, such as a pickup bed.

For answers to child safety restraint questions and the location of the nearest safety seat fitting station, or safety seat technician, contact the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office at 1-800-416-2522, or write ktsro@dccca.org.

The aim of Click It or Ticket is simple: to drastically reduce the number of preventable deaths and injuries that occur when unbelted drivers and passengers are involved in traffic crashes. About 345 persons are involved in 170 crashes each day in Kansas. According to KDOT, 93 percent of them are buckled in. As for those who are not strapped in, only 7 percent of them are likely to escape without injury.

Kansas’ overall adult seatbelt compliance rate is 84 percent and ranges, by county, from 71 - 96 percent, with occupants in rural counties generally less likely to buckle up than those in urban counties.

According to KDOT, this rural-urban difference in rates of buckling up is especially problematic because rural roadway conditions are, in general, less forgiving than those in urban areas. It is easy to see why almost two thirds of Kansas’ fatality crashes occur on rural roadways while these roads account for only one-third of all crashes.

As for child passenger safety, Kansans like to see their state as one which protects children, and it does well with its youngest ones. Overall, those aged 0-4, are buckled into child safety seats at the rate of 97 percent. However, only 87 percent of 5 - 14-year olds are properly restrained. This means that 1 out of 8 Kansas children, aged 5-14, are made especially vulnerable while traveling by the failure of their drivers to restrain them. In 70 percent of those cases, the driver is also unbelted.

“I want people in Lyon County to remember that when they don’t buckle up themselves, or require their passengers to buckle up, they are, in effect, promising themselves and those passengers, as well as family and friends, that no circumstance will arise that will activate seat belts, whether it be chemical impairment, distraction, sleepiness, kids fighting in the back seat, etc. either in their own vehicle or in the other vehicles they meet on the road,” Lyon County Sheriff Jeff Cope said.

“I want people to know that, day or night, Lyon County Sheriff’ Office is committed to aggressively ticketing violators of adult seat belt and child safety laws, as well as other traffic infractions, which make the need for occupant restraint so necessary. The stop will be inconvenient, your vehicle and driver’s license numbers will likely be checked for outstanding warrants and insurance, and you’ll pay at least $30 to the court. So, use your belt and save yourself the trouble.”

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