In 2007, the number of traffic-related deaths in Kansas was approximately 415. This is a reduction of more than 10 percent from 468 in 2006. It is believed that strict enforcement of current seat belt and child safety seat laws helped contribute to this reduction. Across the state of Kansas, only 73 percent of front seat passengers buckle up. According to the Kansas Department of Transportation's Bureau of Traffic Safety, 70 percent of those who died in traffic crashes were not belted in and by contrast, almost 90 percent of those not injured were wearing their seatbelt.
The Safety Belt Use Act specifies that all front seat passengers must be wearing a seatbelt. Officers are authorized to pull over any vehicle that has children under the age of 14 who are not properly restrained. Children under the age of 4 must be secured in a federally approved child safety seat. Children ages 4 through 7 must be securely belted in to an approved booster seat, and children ages 8 through 13 must be safety belted. In addition, children under the age of 14 are prohibited from riding in any part of a vehicle not intended for carrying passengers, such as the bed of a pickup truck.
The Basehor Police Department participates in the S.T.E.P. (Special Traffic Enforcement Program), also known as "Click It or Ticket." Everyone knows there is both a seat belt law and a law stating that children should be properly restrained, but too many drivers play the odds: 'It hasn't happened yet, so why this time : especially on this road? And, besides, we're not going that far.' As a law enforcement officer, I can tell you it does happen and far too often.
The Basehor Police Department will be strictly enforcing the Kansas seat belt laws in hopes of helping to reduce the number of traffic-related deaths again in 2008. So, please buckle up and remember: Seat belts do save lives.
Ask the chief:
¢ Please send questions for Basehor police Chief Lloyd Martley to firstname.lastname@example.org or 2620 N. 155th St., P.O. Box 420, Basehor 66007.
¢Martley will consider your questions for the Chief's Corner column in the Sentinel.