Kentucky police officers prepare for Click It or Ticket seat belt blitz

JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Police officers in Jefferson County are preparing for the annual nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign.

The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety briefed local police traffic units on the campaign in Jeffersontown on Tuesday.

“Whether it’s you, a family member, or a friend, or a stranger, wear your seat belt,” said Troy Dye, the law enforcement liaison for the northern district of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety. “It saves lives. It prevents injuries.”

The goal of the campaign is to help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities as a result of not wearing seat belts.

“We do these area briefings all across Kentucky during this time frame to educate these officers and agencies about it,” Dye said.

On average, 90 percent Americas wear their seat belt, Dye said. But 60 percent of the states fall below that average, including Kentucky. In the commonwealth, 86 percent of people wear their seat belt. Dye said it may sound like a small percentage of people who won’t wear seat belts, but he said they’re risking the most.

“Statistics are showing that over 50 percent of the people in Kentucky that are killed in crashes are not wearing a seat belt,” he said.

That number spikes at night. Dye said 60 percent of people who die in car crashes in the evening hours in Kentucky are not wearing seat belts. And that is a statistic LMPD hopes to eliminate.

“At night time, we’ve noticed that more people are not wearing their seat belts,” said Lt. Micah Sheu, LMPD Traffic Unit Operations Commander. “So we will be enforcing it at night time more so than we have in years past.”

Any day of the year, if you are caught without your seat belt on, that results in a citation and a fine.

“It’s a $25 fine,” Sheu said. “It isn’t much, but it’s more about the education at this point.”

During the campaign, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety has distributed vouchers for free Kentucky Speedway tickets that the officers can hand out to people they observe wearing their seat belts properly.

And Dye said the office is providing grants to the local police departments to help cover costs of the increased efforts during the campaign.

“We give agencies grant money to pay their officers’ overtime to do this enforcement,” Dye said.

Sheu said more people have started to wear their seat belts in Kentucky after a law passed in 2006 making it a requirement. But there is still room for improvement.

“It’s important, because we’re trying to save lives,” he said. “It’s not about writing citations. It’s all about increasing awareness and saving lives.”

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