Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2007

Seat-belt program gets point across

September 13, 2007

Lansing Police Officer Brian Duncan, standing in the middle of Olive Street last week, looked into the vehicle, saw the driver buckled up in her seat belt, and handed her a $1 bill.

"Wow," the surprised driver said as she drove away toward classes at Lansing High School.

Duncan was one of a bevy of volunteers handing out money and fliers in Lansing as part of the "Bucks for Buckles" seat-belt program, cosponsored by Safe Kids Kansas, State Farm Insurance and the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Beginning about 7:30 a.m. Friday, volunteers, including Duncan and members of the Lansing Kiwanis Club, situated themselves on Olive Street and Ida Street. The volunteers each had a handful of $1 bills and brightly colored fliers urging "Buckle Up, Kansas!" If a car approached with everyone inside wearing their seat belts, the driver was given $1; if there was anyone in a vehicle without a safety belt on, the driver was reminded of the importance of seat belt use.

"I think people enjoyed being stopped by me and getting a dollar rather than being stopped by me and getting a $100 ticket, which is what usually happens," Duncan said.

Dick Cameron, a State Farm agent in Lansing, said Friday marked the third time his agency participated in the program and the first time in Lansing. Local organizers deliberately picked areas near Lansing schools to hand out money, he said.

"We do a lot with child restraints and seat-belt safety with the schools, so this was nice to do," Cameron said.

In all, volunteers handed out $200 and about 350 fliers in Lansing.

Gary Aus, one of the volunteers, said messages about seat belt use seem to be resonating - at least with children.

"The one thing I found amazing - and it's very heartening - the kids are almost always buckled up, even if the parents aren't," he said. "The kids, at least they know what to do, even if their parents don't always do it."

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