New highway data shows Kansas still lagging much of the nation in seat-belt use. Kansans’ use rate of 69 percent was the sixth-lowest rate in the nation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
There’s a simple solution: Pass a primary seat-belt law.
Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have passed “primary” belt laws, which allow a law enforcement officer to pull over a driver solely for not wearing a seat belt. Primary laws have a demonstrated track record of boosting seat-belt use by an average of 11 percent.
This is about saving lives. In 2004, 390 people died in Kansas while riding in cars and trucks, and 62 percent were not wearing their seat belts.
An added fiscal incentive: Kansas has a one-time chance to get additional federal transportation dollars — more than $11 million — if it passes a primary seat-belt law.
The Kansas Legislature should get this done next session.
Posted by Randy Scholfield
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