Topeka doctor Bill Sachs doesn’t treat every car crash victim that comes to Stormont Vail Health. But as the trauma program director for the hospital, he and his staff see the worst.
“We just see the serious ones,” Sachs said. “The ones we see aren’t wearing their seat belts.”
Sachs knows what the studies back; wearing a seat belt reduces the number of significant injuries from deaths from motor vehicles by more than 50 percent. As a part of those studies, the Kansas Department of Transportation announced Wednesday at Stormont Vail that there will be added law enforcement looking out for those not buckling up. Kansas’ annual “Click it. Or ticket.” campaign will be Monday, May 16 through Sunday, June 5.
Lauren Newell, a sophomore at Wabaunsee High School who spoke at today’s event, was wearing her seat belt last year when she was involved in a crash and walked away from the event. Her boyfriend, who was not wearing his was ejected from the car and now suffers from a traumatic brain injury.
“Because he didn’t wear his seat belt, his life will never be the same,” Newell said. “It doesn’t matter how far you’re driving or how fast you are going. You need to buckle up.”
Transportation Secretary Mike King echoed Newell’s message.
“We know when seat belt use goes up, fatalities and serious injuries go down,” King said. “‘Click it. Or ticket.’ campaign focuses on our goal of ‘Drive to Zero,’ which means just one preventable death on our roadways is one too many.”
“On the ‘Drive to Zero,’ you are in the driver’s seat,” King said. “It’s up to you to make sure everyone in your car is buckled up.”
For the next few weeks law enforcement will be working overtime to enforce Kansas’ seat belt laws because it saves lives.
Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Adam Winters has worked countless crashes in his career as a Trooper.
“Every time we are dispatched to a crash, I just hope that the victims are wearing their seat belts,” Winters said. “Memorial Day is the official kick off to summer, and we know the roads are going to be busy. Please take the time to buckle up. Every trip. Every time.”