The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) recently honored 146 law enforcement officers from 125 agencies across the Commonwealth for their efforts to increase the use of seat belts and child restraints in motor vehicles, including a Williamsburg police officer.
The Governor’s Occupant Protection Awards ceremony was held on July 28 at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington. Awards were presented to officers with the most occupant protection citations in each agency and division. There are six divisions, broken down by number of officers within the agency, and a division for Kentucky State Police.
In division two, which includes departments with 10 – 25 officers, Williamsburg Police Sgt. Brandon White was recognized. In division three, which includes departments with 26-50 officers, London Police Department Patrolman Michael Wilson and Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputy G.F. Cloyd were recognized.
“These officers, their departments and agencies render a great service for public safety by enforcing our occupant protection laws,” said Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton via video message. “You are literally our eyes on the road and because of you, Kentucky’s roadways are safer.”
There were 761 total highway fatalities in Kentucky in 2015, with 588 killed in motor vehicles. Of those 588 fatalities, 300 (61 percent) were not wearing a seat belt.
“Despite abundant data showing that seat belts and child restraints save lives, each year hundreds of unrestrained motorists lose their lives on Kentucky roadways,” said KOHS Executive Director Noelle Hunter said before presenting the awards. “We care about every person who travels our roadways and will consistently share this life-saving message to buckle up.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts, when worn correctly, are proven to reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front-seat occupants by 45 percent – and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans. Also according to NHTSA, a properly installed, belt-positioning booster seat lowers the risk of injury to children by nearly 60 percent, compared with seat belts alone.