On July 12, 2006, Kentucky’s new “primary” seat-belt law took effect, but officials gave state residents a reprieve period to adjust to the new enforcement, issuing warnings rather than fines when motorists were stopped for not wearing seat belts.
On January 1st, 2007 the streets got a lot tougher as officers are now issuing tickets to drivers in violation of the “primary” seat-belt laws.
According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Department of Transportation Safety, the primary seat belt law means drivers can be stopped and cited if anyone in the vehicle is not wearing a seatbelt.
This primary offense carries with it, a $25 fine, doubling to $50 if the violation includes failure to properly use child safety restraints. Any driver transporting a child of forty inches in height or less in a motor vehicle must have the child properly secured in a federal motor vehicle safety standard approved restraint system.
Kentucky state officials are intent on enforcing the new seat belt laws to the hilt, primarily to save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Kentucky should expect to save 62 lives and prevent 740 serious injuries as a direct result. In addition, Kentucky should also experience a dramatic cost savings, in particularly the reduction in injuries having a positive impact on the state’s Medicaid funding.
Further studies conducted conclude that in 2004, sixty-seven percent of vehicle occupants killed in car crashes in Kentucky, were not wearing seat belts. When lap and shoulder seat belts are used properly, they reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car riders by forty-five percent and reduce the risk of moderate to critical injuries by over fifty percent.
The state legislature is currently considering a bill to take the seat belt law restrictions a step further to save children’s lives. The new House Bill 53, if passed, would require booster seats to be used for young children, less than eight years old, who are between forty and fifty-seven inches tall and weigh less than eighty pounds.
Kentucky House Representative Tom Burch, D-Buechel and sponsor of Bill 53 stated, “If we save one life or prevent one injury, it’s worth it.”
While awaiting the results of the new bill proposal, and adhering to the new seat belt laws, it is advantageous for Kentucky drivers to familiarize themselves with the law requirements and buckle up!
Kentucky drivers can find more information on federal motor vehicle approved safety standards for child restraints at the National Highway Safety Administration Website. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ and more about Kentucky traffic laws at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Website http://511.ky.gov/