Rally Draws Supporters of Primary Seatbelt Legislation
FLEMINGSBURG, KY – (February 24, 2006) -- People from all walks of life turned out in Morehead today to show support for a primary seat belt law in the Commonwealth.
Students, parents, teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, safety advocates, and state and local officials were on hand for the rally, held in Morehead State University’s Adron Doran University Center.
Ray White, a veteran firefighter and paramedic with the Morehead Fire Department offered an emotional recollection of two accidents that he will never forget. Both accidents involved Morehead State University students who were each killed after being ejected from their vehicles. Neither was wearing a seat belt. “Every time I drive by the scenes of the accidents I still vividly remember their innocent faces and the faces of the grief stricken parents,” White said. “In each case the outcome could have been dramatically different had seat belts been worn.”
Statistics show about 67 percent of Kentuckians wear their seat belts, compared to the national average of 82 percent. The state ranks 47th nationally in seat belt usage. If the primary seat belt bill becomes law, at least 62 lives will be saved in the first year of implementation.
“A primary seat belt law is the single most important thing we can do in the Commonwealth to reduce fatalities and serious injuries caused by vehicle crashes,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. “I applaud Governor Fletcher for making the bill’s passage a top priority during this legislative session.”
The primary seat belt law would give law enforcement officers the authority to pull over a motorist simply for not wearing a seat belt. Currently, a driver has to commit another traffic offense before being pulled over for not buckling up.
Lacey Bard, an MSU student and member of the Student Government Association, spoke at today’s rally. She also applauded the Governor’s effort get a primary seat belt law passed. “I’ve had friends who have been saved by the belt,” Bard said. “I lived most of my life in New York before making Kentucky my home, and I have seen the benefits of a primary law. It is something we need in the Commonwealth. We need to have more people buckling up.”
“With every highway related death, the pain and suffering associated with the loss is immeasurable,” said Katrina O. Bradley, chief district engineer for District 9 of the Department of Highways. “We can help reduce fatalities on our highways by buckling up, and reminding others to buckle up.”