FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – UK and UofL football fans showed their team spirit while helping reduce highway deaths this holiday season at two special events in Lexington and Louisville on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
Representatives from the Kentucky State Police (KSP), the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) and Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Insurance Company gave away free red or blue t-shirts to the first 1,000 fans who arrived with their seat belts fastened at Kroger Field in Lexington between 10:00 and 12:00 p.m. and Cardinal Stadium in Louisville between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. The shirts featured a special message: #FinishStrong (Kentucky\Louisville) under a stylized graphic of football laces.
UK edged out UofL in fan turnout to win friendly bragging rights before the annual gridiron match-up on November 24.
“There is always friendly competition among Kentuckians when the Cards play the Cats,” says KSP Commissioner Sanders. “We’d like to use that rivalry to highlight the issue of seat belt usage and to encourage fans to wear their seat belts to the big game.”
As of Nov. 19, 2018, there have been 632 total highway fatalities in Kentucky this year with 247 of those resulting from not wearing a seat belt.
Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance Company joined the two agencies in the effort to help spread the safe driving message by providing the t-shirts given away at the events.
“Finish Strong is a great partnership that aligns very well with our distracted driving awareness campaign,” adds KFB Director of Communications Dan Smaldone. “In fact, aside from putting down your phone while driving, one of the next best defenses against a distracted driver is to wear a seatbelt.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts, when worn correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front seat passenger by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.
“A seat belt is the easiest, most efficient way to save lives on our roadways, yet we continually see far too many drivers and passengers not buckling up,” says Acting Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Jason Siwula.
To add impact to the ‘Finish Strong’ campaign, Sanders says his agency will be placing additional focus on seat belt enforcement operations during the holiday season.
“The goal of these enforcement efforts is not to see how many tickets we can write,” says Sanders. “The purpose is to save lives and that is where high visibility enforcement is key in changing driver behavior.”
“Whether you are a UK fan or a Louisville fan, we can all agree on one thing – we never want to miss a game,” adds Sanders. “So buckle up and ‘Finish Strong’ Kentucky!”