What: Beginning Monday, May 23, and running through Sunday, June 5, look for increased police presence on city street as the McPherson Police Department aggressively enforces Kansas occupant restraint and other traffic laws as part of the 2011 Kansas Click It or Ticket traffic enforcement campaign. This activity is supported by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Who: Expect strict enforcement of the Safety Belt Use and Child Passenger Safety Acts. The acts require all occupants must be appropriately restrained. Occupants aged 14 and over are cited individually. In the event that a passenger under the age of 14 is unrestrained, the driver will be cited. Children under the age of 4 must be secured in an approved child safety seat. Children, ages 4 to 7, must be securely belted into an approved booster seat unless taller than 4 feet, 9 inches or heavier than 80 pounds. All other children must be safety-belted. In addition, the act 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.

Why: Across Kansas, nearly 150 law enforcement agencies, including the Kansas Highway Patrol, will be participating in Click It or Ticket. The aim is to drastically reduce the number of preventable deaths and injuries that occur when unbelted drivers and passengers are involved in traffic crashes. According to KDOT’s traffic safety section, Kansas traffic crashes in 2009 claimed the lives of 388 people.
Of those who died, more than two-thirds were not belted in. By contrast, 89 percent of those not even injured were belted in.
Across the state, 82 percent of front-seat passengers buckle up, ranking Kansas 35th among the states for seat belt compliance. However, the state’s seat belt compliance ranges by county with higher rates generally associated with urban areas and lower rates associated with rural counties. Lower seat belt usage has resulted in higher crash fatality rates in those areas. More disheartening to the law enforcement community, however, are low child restraint rates. According to the latest survey by KDOT, about 7 percent of Kansas children, on average, are restrained. Children ages 10-13 are most likely to be unrestrained while riding in a vehicle.
“Everyone knows there are seat belt laws and that seat belts and child safety seats save lives and reduce injury as well as hold down health care costs for all of us. But, too many drivers play the odds and the drive unrestrained because, statistically, a crash is unlikely. The fact is, when a crash does happen - and it’s generally within five miles from home - the two seconds it took to buckle up looks like a smart investment. I want people to know that the McPherson Police Department is committed to aggressively ticketing violators of Kansas passenger restraint laws, and all traffic infractions that make our streets and highways unsafe.”