Kansas law enforcement agencies, including the Wichita police department and the Kansas Highway Patrol, will be watching closely for seat belt use over the next few weeks. The annual “Click It. Or Ticket” campaign begins May 20th and runs through June 2nd.
The campaign was announced at a news conference Wednesday outside the Wichita city hall. Chris Bortz, traffic safety program manager for the Kansas Department of Transportation, said the purpose of the campaign is to get people to get people to buckle up every trip, every time. Bortz said there are still about 16 percent of Kansans who are not buckling up, and pickup truck drivers are less likely to use seat belts.
Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Ben Gardner said he has seen the difference that seat belt use can make, and it will increase the chances for a driver or passenger to survive a crash. Wichita police officer Frank Silva said more people are wearing seat belts and it’s more difficult for officers to find someone who isn’t buckled up. He said “we really don’t want to write these tickets, but believe me if we see you not wearing your seat belt we will issue a citation.”
In 2017, 53 percent of the 316 deaths from traffic accidents in Kansas were people who were not buckled up.