Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Support for Primary Seat Belt Bill Moving Into the Fast Lane

Press Release Date:  Thursday, February 16, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Doug Hogan

Diverse groups support governor’s call for primary seat belt law

Frankfort, Ky. - A growing number of prominent groups and agencies around Kentucky are joining Governor Fletcher in his call for the General Assembly to adopt a primary seat belt law.  Various organizations were represented at a Capitol Rotunda rally February 7, 2006, in support of primary enforcement of the seat belt law.  Several hundred people attended the rally.  Here’s what some of the groups say about a primary seat belt law.

“KEA is proud to support primary seat belt legislation because it is a vital and sensible measure that will help guarantee the safety of Kentucky’s children, whom we serve, and for whom we want the brightest possible future.  We also support the primary seat belt bill because it will have a direct and positive impact on the cost of medical insurance for all Kentuckians.  We urge the General Assembly to approve the legislation and send it to Governor Fletcher for his signature.”

Frances Steenbergen, president, Kentucky Education Association

“AARP is very involved in driver safety through our AARP Driver Safety program. A primary seat belt law would be very effective in reducing unnecessary deaths on Kentucky's highways and we urge passage of this law now.” 

Phil Peters, Kentucky state director, American Association of Retired Persons

“As the commonwealth’s manufacturing trade association, the Associated Industries of Kentucky, we have long encouraged seat belt usage by our member’s employees, both on the job and at home.  Simply stated, seat belts save lives. As one member company advertises:  SAFE – Seatbelts Are For Everyone.” 

Andrew C. Meko, president/CEO, Associated Industries of Kentucky

“AAA Blue Grass/Kentucky definitely believes the time has come for a primary seat belt law in Kentucky. Primary enforcement has proven to be an effective means of decreasing fatal and nonfatal injuries as well as lessening the economic impact sustained from motor vehicle crashes.” 

Ann Belcher, public relations coordinator, AAA Blue Grass/Kentucky

“KBT supports a primary seat belt law because it will dramatically increase seat belt usage. No other safety device has as much potential for immediately preventing deaths and injuries in crashes on Kentucky highways.  We commend Secretary Nighbert and Governor Fletcher for their leadership in encouraging the enactment of a primary seat belt law.” 

Calvin Grayson, chairman, Kentuckians for Better Transportation Safety Committee

“It’s not rocket science: Seat belts do save lives.  We at KACO support a mandatory seat belt law in Kentucky. Seat belts can help reduce the number of automobile injuries – and save lives.  The best defense is a good offense. We support buckling up in Kentucky.” 

Bob Arnold, executive director/CEO, Kentucky Association of Counties

“Kentucky ranks 47th in the number of traffic deaths because we’re not using seat belts or child car seats, so KLC is naturally going to be interested in legislation aimed at protecting young drivers in Kentucky communities.  Public safety is the number one responsibility of local governments and every city official in Kentucky looks for opportunities to make life better for their citizens through participation in the legislative process.” 

Sylvia L. Lovely, executive director/CEO, Kentucky League of Cities

“A primary safety belt law means more Kentucky motorists will live full, healthy, productive lives rather than becoming one more fatality or injury statistic.  Seat belts save lives and are the best defense against a drunk driver.  That means more of our economic resources can be spent keeping us and our children healthy in mind, body, and spirit rather than in treating our traumatic injuries.” 

Angela M. Leigh, state executive director, MADD Kentucky

“As an agency that deals with highway safety everyday and the tragedies that occur on our highways, my officers are consistently saying, ‘why were they not wearing a seat belt that would have saved their life.’ Also, it takes so little time to prevent a family tragedy.” 

Greg Howard, commissioner, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement

“Safety belts are proven lifesavers. Kentucky's safety belt use rate is about 15 percentage points below the national average of 82 percent. We can do better.  The result of a stronger belt use law will be higher belt use, fewer fatalities and reduced injuries.” 

Wil Cooksey, assembly plan manager, General Motor's - Bowling Green 

“Primary seat belt laws have a proven track record for saving lives, preventing injuries, and saving millions of dollars in health care costs.  Toyota has significant investments in safety systems in our vehicles but, none as important as the seat belt.” 

Wendy Kelly, state government affairs manager, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.

“Ford strongly supports any efforts to get people to buckle up, and Ford's BeltyMinderT system is a great example of the company's commitment to that goal.” 

Ford Motor Company

“Safety experts agree that increasing safety belt use is the single most effective short term way to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.  Young drivers, who are most likely to be involved in serious crashes, have substantially lower belt-use rates.  When states have strengthened their safety belt laws to provide primary enforcement, safety belt use has increased by an average of eight to 12 percentage points.” 

Frederick L. Webber, president & CEO, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Inc. & Phillip Brady, president, National Automobile Dealers Association

“Passing a primary seat belt law in Kentucky is a true win-win piece of legislation. It will save lives, bring federal dollars into the commonwealth and strengthen an existing law. We commend the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Governor Fletcher for their leadership on this important issue.” 

Glenn Jennings, executive director, Kentucky Office of Insurance

“As you are aware traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death for our teenagers and young adults.  The Department of Public Health fully supports the efforts to have a primary seat belt law passed in Kentucky.   Thankfully the Governor has not only publicly supported it, he is backing legislation introduced to make it happen.”  

Dr. William Hacker, commissioner, Department for Public Health

“There is no question that seat belts save lives.  Sadly, in Kentucky, approximately two-thirds of traumatic brain injuries and one-third of spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle crashes.”

Dr. Emery A. Wilson, director of the University of Kentucky Office of Health Research and Development and organizer of KIOM

“The Kentucky State Police fully supports Governor Fletcher's proposal for a primary seatbelt law.  Passage of primary seat belt legislation would result in at least an 11% increase in Kentucky's usage rate, currently third lowest in the country.  It has been estimated that at least 62 lives would be saved as a result.” 

Mark Miller, commissioner, Kentucky State Police