Kentucky is promoting Operation Crash Reduction (OCR) during the Columbus Day holiday weekend to help drivers and passengers remember the importance of seat belt use and other safe driving practices.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Office of Highway Safety (KOHS), state and local law enforcement and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are teaming up to support the operation that started Friday and continues through Monday.
Governor Andy Beshear said while drivers can never control who they share the road with, one thing within everyone’s control is the decision to buckle up and put the phone down every time you get in a vehicle to keep yourself safer no matter what.
According to state officials, Operation Crash Reduction is focused on the states of Kentucky, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia — states that see some of the nation’s highest number of traffic deaths.
From 2015 to 2019, state officials say October was the most likely month for fatal crashes to occur in these states, with 1,785 total fatal wrecks. In these fatal crashes, more than 46 percent of occupant deaths in passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses were not using seatbelts. During that same time period in these states, officials say more fatal crashes occurred on Columbus Day (253) than during the holiday periods of Thanksgiving or Memorial Day.
Officials with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety report there were 270 injuries and eight deaths on the state’s roadways during the Columbus Day weekend last year. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray says this is why they are working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Kentucky’s law enforcement partners to encourage motorists to buckle up and put the phone down.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, when worn correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatalities by 45 percent for front-seat occupants and by 60 percent for pickup truck, SUV and minivan occupants.