TRANSPORTATION CABINET HONORS THOSE “SAVED BY THE BELT” - Awards Program Directs Public Attention to the Benefits of Using Safety Belts
FRANKFORT, KY (January 12, 2006) – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet today honored its first group of “Saved by the Belt” award recipients. The program, which was introduced last September, is designed to focus attention on the importance of seatbelt usage by recognizing Kentuckians whose lives have been saved, or whose injuries have been significantly reduced because they were wearing a safety belt at the time of a crash.
Governor Ernie Fletcher highlighted the importance of using safety belts during his State of the Commonwealth address Monday night when he said “it’s time for a primary seat belt law in Kentucky.” The Governor went on to say that “a primary seatbelt law can save 62 lives in just the first year.”
A primary seat belt law will also provide $11 million extra federal dollars for road safety. Along with the engineering solutions and education programs that these dollars will be used for, the Governor also committed to using some of those dollars to pay for new guard rails to better protect everyone who drives on our roads.
Today’s initial group of “Saved by the Belt” award recipients was praised by Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert. “It only takes about two seconds to fasten a safety belt. The presence of these individuals here today is living proof that those two seconds can mean the difference in life or death.”
Transportation Cabinet Deputy Secretary Jim Adams explains the ultimate goal of the “Saved by the Belt” program to those who attended the event. “We hope that, with the help of people like our award recipients, we will be better able to focus public attention on the ultimate benefits of buckling up.”
“We’re trying to encourage the adoption of a very good habit,” said Boyd Sigler, the Transportation Cabinet’s Highway Safety Operations Manager. “There is no question about the fact that seatbelt usage is the very best insurance we have for surviving an accident. Unfortunately, statistics show, for too many Kentuckians, buckling up is not second nature.”
Kentucky’s seatbelt usage rate is 67%, which ranks the state 47th in the nation. In 2005, 975 people died in highway crashes. Two-thirds of those were not wearing safety belts.
In October, 2004, Governor Ernie Fletcher formed the Governor’s Executive Committee on Highway Safety. During Kentucky’s Lifesavers Conference in April, 2005, the Governor announced that the Executive Committee would be “One Voice” behind all of Kentucky’s highway safety initiatives. Deputy Secretary Adams chairs that committee, which is charged with finding ways to reduce the number of highway fatalities and injuries in Kentucky.
If you have been saved by the belt, you can access the guidelines and nomination form at http://highwaysafety.ky.gov/.
NOTE: Attached is a description of the first group of recipients.
Cornelius Gibson Frankfort, Kentucky
2003 - Took evasive action to avoid colliding with a stopped logging truck during dense fog causing his vehicle to overturn twice.
Ann Hutchison Carlisle, Kentucky
2000 - Struck head-on by an out-of-control vehicle which crossed the median
Mary Jennings Frankfort, Kentucky
2005 – Vehicle was sideswiped by another vehicle
Jonathan Moore Frankfort, Kentucky
2004 – Vehicle turned left in front of his vehicle causing him to strike the vehicle in rear passenger side
Marion Nevitt New Haven, Kentucky
2005 - Took evasive action to avoid a deer, ran off the roadway, went off the right side of the roadway, spun sideways, then went off the left of the roadway and into a creek.
Mark Ramler Camp Springs, Kentucky
2003 – Struck head-on by a drunk driver
Anne Riley Willisburg, Kentucky
2004 – Vehicle was stopped on a ramp when another vehicle struck her from behind
Shane Turner Jackson, Kentucky
2005 – Took evasive action to avoid a deer, ran off the roadway and over a hill about 75 feet where the vehicle struck a small tree then ended with the front end in the North Fork of the Kentucky River