If you noticed more blue lights with people pulled over on the shoulder last week, here is one reason — police are vigorously checking whether your seatbelt is buckled and if you have children in proper safety seats.

 The annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign in the counties of Kentucky State Police Post 9, Kentucky Valley Education Region 6, and Highway District 12 is underway and runs through June 2.

 Sheriffs’ offices in Highway District 12 which are participating in Click It or Ticket include those in Pike, Johnson, Lawrence, and Knott counties. In addition, city police departments are participating from Martin, Louisa, Prestonsburg, Paintsville, and Pikeville.

All the agencies have grants from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) for targeted enforcement of Kentucky’s seatbelt and child safety seat laws during the campaign. Officers who participate are paid overtime to patrol city streets, county roads, and state highways, specifically targeting people who are not wearing seatbelts, whether drivers or passengers. At least half of each agency’s effort during the campaign must be nighttime enforcement.

 Kentucky’s seatbelt usage rate was 89.9 percent as of June 2018. In Eastern Kentucky the rate is much lower: 74.7 percent in Pike County and 73.6 percent in Perry County, for example. The rate for drivers of pickup trucks is the lowest of the categories surveyed (vans, SUVs, passenger cars, and pickups): 63.7 percent in Pike and 67.6 percent in Perry.

 “If there is anything you can do to encourage the pickup drivers in your circle of family and friends to wear their seatbelts, please do,” urged Sara George, Information Officer for Highway District 12. “Of course we should encourage everyone to wear seatbelts and use appropriate child safety seats, but apparently the group least likely to buckle up are men driving pickups. And we wonder why our insurance rates are so high. Seatbelt use is one of the factors used to determine insurance rates. That is something each driver has control of, whether the driver wears a seatbelt and whether that driver requires all passengers to buckle up.”

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