PRIMARY SEAT BELT RALLIES SCHEDULED THROUGHOUT KENTUCKY
FRANKFORT, KY (February 22, 2006) – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is coordinating rallies in support of a primary seat belt law in cities across the commonwealth. These rallies are in conjunction with a kick-off event at the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort on February 7th which hundreds of people attended.
At the Frankfort event, Governor Ernie Fletcher told the crowd “two out of three people killed in highway crashes last year were not wearing a seat belt. We know a primary seat belt law will save more than 60 lives in the first year alone. Some of those saved could be your family members or mine.” Governor Fletcher continued saying “this issue is about saving lives. It’s time for a primary seat belt law.”
Students, parents, teachers, business and civic leaders, homemakers, members of the medical community, law enforcement officers, safety advocates, elected officials and others are taking part in the local rallies. The theme for the events includes the slogan “Saved by the Belt—Buckle Up Kentucky!”
Events are on-going in all twelve Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Highway Districts. Successful events have taken place in Franklin, Elizabethtown, Edgewood and Somerset. Other events are scheduled as follows:
·Friday, February 24:
10:00AM - Morehead State University, Morehead
1:00PM - Kosair Children’s Hospital, Louisville
1:00PM - Hal Rogers Center, Hazard
·Monday, February 27:
10:00AM - Georgetown/Scott County EMS Headquarters, Georgetown
10:00AM - Eastern Kentucky Expo Center, Pikeville
·Tuesday, February 28:
10:00AM - South Laurel High School, London
·Monday, March 6:
9:30AM - Henderson City-County Ambulance Service, Henderson
·Friday, March 10:
1:00PM - South Livingston Elementary School, Smithland
“Passing a primary seat belt law is the single most important thing we can do to put the brakes on fatalities,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. “The state ranks 47th nationally in seat belt usage. Lives are at stake. We must do better.”
Recent research from the University of Kentucky’s Transportation Center and from the Kentucky Institute of Medicine revealed some startling projections concerning the impact a primary seat belt law would have on Kentucky families and the state’s economy. Some of the highlights include:
-At least 62 fewer fatalities per year
-388 fewer incapacitating spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries
-1,051 fewer non-incapacitating injuries from accidents involving passenger vehicles and light trucks.
Kentucky’s Medicaid budget would save a minimum of $40.9 million over 10 years, including $2.2 million the first year and $585,000 per year for long-term medical care.
Overall, Kentucky would save $324 million in comprehensive costs (lost life years and productivity)
The recently approved federal highway reauthorization bill includes another incentive for a primary seat belt law. Under the federal bill, if Kentucky adopts a primary seat belt law, the state will get an additional $11.2 million in federal funds to use for safety improvements on state roads.
House Bill 86 (HB 86), the primary seat belt bill, is expected to come up for another vote by the House of Representatives soon.