For Immediate Release
August 26, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

KDHE, KDOT and State Farm Announce "Bucks for Buckles"

Topeka--Thousands of vehicles will be traveling the Kansas roadways during the Labor Day weekend. Many families will head out on one last camping trip or getaway as the school year begins. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Safe Kids Kansas, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and State Farm insurance company want to encourage families to buckle up and drive safely to protect their most valuable asset, their families.

This year, Aug. 28 through Sept. 10, a safety belt awareness campaign called “Bucks for Buckles” is being held in 53 cities across Kansas. Volunteers are handing out one-dollar bills to drivers who have all occupants buckled up securely in their vehicle. Those riding unrestrained will receive educational materials about the effectiveness of seat belts and child safety seats in saving lives and reducing injuries. For a list of sites and coordinators, see the attached file.

“No one can predict when they will be involved in a motor vehicle crash, yet almost all of us will be involved in an automobile crash in our lifetime. Last year, 428 people lost their lives on Kansas roadways and 59 percent of them were unbuckled,” said Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas.  “The single most effective means of protecting the lives of you and your passengers is wearing seat belts and using appropriate child restraints every time you ride in the vehicle, even short distances.”

According to the 2010 KDOT Safety Belt survey, only 82 percent of those surveyed ages 14 and older were wearing their seat belt. This compares to the national average of 85 percent. In 2009, Kansas ranked 43 in the nation in seat belt usage.

“It is important that Kansans get the message that seat belts save lives,” stated Sage. “An average of 93 people die each day in motor vehicle crashes nationally; that’s an average of one death every 16 minutes. This is unacceptable.”

For more information about safety belt or child safety seat use, call 785-296-1223 or visit www.safekidskansas.org and www.safekids.org.