FRANKFORT, Ky. - Fugitives, drunken drivers and people with stolen vehicles were among those detected and cited in this year's Click It or Ticket enforcement effort, coordinated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and supported by over 300 police agencies statewide.
The main objective of Click It or Ticket is enforcement of Kentucky's seat belt law, and more than 20,500 people were cited for not being buckled up, according to reports from participating law enforcement agencies.
But officers who manned 883 checkpoints throughout the commonwealth also detected other types of crimes. Officers made 1,594 drunken driving arrests, 1,246 felony arrests, and 1,581 drug arrests. They recovered 76 stolen vehicles and apprehended 1,312 fugitives. They also cited 15,460 people for speeding and 6,574 people for having no proof of automobile insurance.
"The goal of the Click It or Ticket campaign is not necessarily to write tickets, although enforcement agencies are definitely looking for violators," said Boyd Sigler, director of KYTC's Highway Safety Programs, whose office coordinates the campaign each year. "Our goal is to educate the public on the importance of wearing a seat belt and to reduce deaths and injuries along our roadways. It's interesting, though, to learn what officers encounter when they're out there doing traffic patrols and check points, and how working to reduce crashes also reduces criminal activity."
Police agencies participating in this year's campaign included sheriff departments, local city and county police agencies, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, and Kentucky State Police, many of whom received funding from KYTC to participate.
Anderson County Sheriff Troy Young said the campaign was positive. "People are becoming more comfortable with buckling up and seat belt citations are down. I think people realize seat belts do save lives," Young said.
Bob Criswell, KYTC law enforcement liaison, said law enforcement agencies are an important partner in reducing deaths and injuries in Kentucky. "They care about their jobs, and when they see the numbers of deaths falling, they get excited, knowing that their efforts really do make a difference," Criswell said.
Traffic safety checkpoints were conducted throughout Kentucky during a two-week mobilization May 19 - June 1. Those not buckled up or in violation of other laws received a citation. But those who were buckled received a different kind of ticket - a "Click It FOR Tickets" voucher, which allowed them to register to win a set of six tickets to the Kentucky Speedway.
Winners were David Bourgeois, of Eddyville; Kim Angelia Coleman, Albany; Kim Parker, Georgetown; Jeffery Stack, Lexington; Tammy Kirkpatrick, Hawesville, and James Gibbs, Salt Lick.
Two sets of tickets were provided to each of three races - the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the IndyCar Series.
Additional rewards were provided at approximately 100 McDonald's restaurants in central and eastern Kentucky on Monday, May 19, when police officers handed out prizes, coupons and informational flyers at area drive-thrus. Drivers and passengers wearing seat belts received coupons.
"We're very pleased with the results of this year's Click It or Ticket effort," added Sigler. "The partnership between all the agencies, organizations and businesses involved was tremendous. If one life was saved, all the effort was worth it.
Despite a wealth of data showing that seat belts save lives - and also despite implementation of a primary seat belt law - Kentucky remains at the bottom nationally in seat belt usage rates, at only 72 percent.
Seventy-two percent of passenger vehicle occupants who were involved in a fatal crash in 2006, but who were buckled up, survived. When worn correctly, seat belts are proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45 percent - and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans.