Department of Highways, District 11
New Year's Resolution List Should Include Wearing Your Safety Belt

Press Release Date:  Thursday, December 29, 2005  
Contact Information:  SANDY RUDDER
(606) 598-2145

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and getting focused on life-changing improvements we'd like to make in the coming year.  With that in mind, many of us will be making New Year's Resolutions.

Surveys indicate the top ten most common New Year's Resolutions are:

1) Spending More Time with Family & Friends
2) Exercising More to Get in Shape
3) Losing Weight,
4) Quit Smoking
5) Enjoy Life More
6) Quit Drinking
7) Get Out of Debt
8) Learn Something New
9) Help Others More
10) Get Better Organized

        The Kentucky Drive Smart safety program would like everyone to add an additional resolution to that list.  They're asking motorists to resolve to take time to buckle their safety belt every time they get behind the wheel.

        "Buckling your safety belt and having everyone else in your vehicle buckle up is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your safety and the safety of your family," said District Eleven Drive Smart Coordinator Sandy Rudder.  "It only takes a few seconds, less time than it takes to check your hair in the rear view mirror."

        Rudder says with air bags and all the other safety features on modern automobiles, it's easy to get complacent about buckling up.  However, for air bags to properly protect you in a crash you have to be buckled in.

       Currently about 67 percent of Kentucky motorists buckle up.  The national average for safety belt use is 80 percent, making Kentucky 47th among the 50 states.  If seat belt use increased ten percent it would save more than 60 lives on Kentucky highways each year and substantially reduce serious injuries.

        "If we look at the fatality rate on Kentucky highways for 2005, it is easy to interpolate that more than 950 Kentuckians who are alive today can be expected to die on our roadways by the end of 2006.  The one thing those 950 people can do to increase their chances of being alive at the end of the year is to buckle their seat belt every time they get in a vehicle," Rudder said.

        In addition to reducing deaths and personal injuries, Kentucky Transportation Center research indicates raising safety belt use above 80 percent would save Kentuckians about $235 million in reduced medical costs over a ten year period.