On Monday, law enforcement officers in Ottawa as well as 160 other agencies will increase their presence on the street, enforcing the 2018 Kansas Click It of Ticket campaign.
According to a news release, the annual campaign is done in hopes of drastically reducing the number of preventable deaths and injuries that occur when unrestrained drivers and passengers are involved in traffic crashes.
During the week of May 21 through June 3, drivers can expect round-the-clock enforcement of the seatbelt policy, especially at night.
The Kansas Safety Belt Use Act and Kansas Child Passenger Safety Act require all occupants must be properly restrained. The released said occupants ages 14 and over will be cited individually and the driver will also be fined for an unrestrained passenger under 14 years of age. The fine for an adult violation is $30 which was approved in 2017. Fines increase to $60 for youth 14-17, and is $60 for a child 0-13, with an added court cost.
According to the news release, 92 percent of drivers who suffer no injuries in accidents are belted in. It added that 45 percent of fatal injuries occurred when seatbelts were not in use.
The Kansas Department of Transportation says that the State of Kansas overall seatbelt compliance is 82 percent but is lower in rural areas where roadway conditions are less forgiving.
STEP Coordinator Sgt. Steven Burkhart said in the release that there is no reason not to buckle up.
“The Ottawa Police Department is committed to aggressively ticketing violators of adult seat belt and child safety laws, as well as other traffic infractions — such as speeding and texting while driving — which make the need for occupant restraint so necessary,” the release said. “The stop will be inconvenient, your vehicle and driver’s license numbers will likely be checked for outstanding warrants and insurance, and you’ll pay $30 to the court. So, use your belt and save yourself the trouble.”