Law enforcement campaign aimed to save lives

Greg Mast
Law enforcement agencies will be targeting areas around schools for next week's seat belt campaign.

State law enforcement agency will be stepping up patrols to enforce traffic laws.

The Ottawa Police Department will join in the campaign, which runs Monday through Friday of next week.

In 2019, eight children under the age of 13 lost their lives because of car crashes in Kansas. Sixty-two percent of those children were not wearing their seat belts.

“In the health field, they talk about making sure children have received their immunizations to prevent deadly diseases,” police Sgt. Casey Gillmore said. “But what many parents don’t think about is that wearing a seat belt properly is the best prevention of serious injury or death in a vehicle.”

According to the 2019 Kansas observational seat belt survey, children are much more likely to be buckled up if the driver is wearing their seat belt. If the driver is buckled, about 97% of the children are restrained. If the driver is not buckled, only about 30% of the observed children were buckled. Gillmore said.

Next week, law enforcement agencies across Kansas will be extra-vigilant when patrolling around schools.

For more than 20 years, officers have educated and warned drivers and passengers regarding the importance of using seat belts while in their vehicle, Gillmore said.

“There should be no surprises when it comes to this enforcement effort,” Gillmore said. “Officers will issue citations to anyone who does not obey Kansas law. Even one child’s death is unacceptable. Please slow down, especially in school zones, eliminate the distractions, and always buckle up.”

For the latest data and to see more about Kansas safety belt laws, go to