‘Finish Strong’ seat belt challenge encourages football fans to save lives by buckling up

‘Finish Strong’ seat belt challenge encourages football fans to save lives by buckling up
Master Trooper Billy Gregory of the Kentucky State Police Public Affairs Branch and Troy Dye of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety rewarded a motorist for wearing a seat belt with a Cardinal red “Finish Strong” tee shirt at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville on Nov. 20. (Source: Kentucky State Police)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - UK and UL football fans showed their team spirit while helping reduce highway deaths this holiday season at Cardinal Stadium on Tuesday.

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 t-shirts to the first 1,000 fans who arrived with their seat belts fastened Cardinal Stadium. The shirts featured a special message: #FinishStrongLouisville under a stylized graphic of football laces.

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,” KFB Director of Communications Dan Smaldone said in a press release. “In fact, aside from putting down your phone while driving, one of the next best defenses against a distracted driver is to wear a seat belt.”

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.”

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.

The event also took place in Lexington at Kroger Field. UK edged out UL in fan turnout to win friendly bragging rights before the annual gridiron match-up on November 24.

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