Kentucky gets a boost for its effort to save lives on the highways
FRANKFORT, Ky. — National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials have notified Gov. Steve Beshear and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet that the commonwealth will receive a $481,124 federal grant to encourage seat belt usage.
“The safety administration has recognized our solid commitment to saving lives on the commonwealth’s roadways,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are very appreciative of that recognition. We are also fortunate to have professionals in the Office of Highway Safety who are dedicated and resolute in their determination to get everyone to buckle up.”
“This funding is a shot in the arm for our campaigns that encourage and enforce seatbelt usage,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Prather. “Our 2008 ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign is just around the corner. We are also preparing to launch a new statewide information blitz to encourage the public to buckle up. This is a very timely grant.”
The 2008 Occupant Protection Incentive Grant Program was reauthorized by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), to encourage states to implement and enforce occupant protection programs and laws.
Funds are awarded to states that meet at least four of six criteria. Kentucky met five: a seat belt use law for all occupants, a primary seat belt law, special traffic enforcement programs, a child passenger protection education program, and a child passenger protection law.
“We are confident that future reductions in highway crashes, injuries and deaths in Kentucky will result from the programs you are implementing,” said James F. Portis, Jr., NHTSA deputy administrator, in his letter of notification to the governor. “The actions that you, the Kentucky Legislature and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety have taken to address this serious problem are to be commended.”
Fatalities on Kentucky highways decreased in 2006 and 2007 and are occurring at a still lower rate thus far in 2008.
“We are moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go,” said Boyd Sigler, director of the cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety. “We will continue to work tirelessly in our efforts to save lives on Kentucky highways.”