Thousands of vehicles will be traveling the Kansas roadways beginning this Labor Day weekend. Many families will head out on one last camping trip or getaway as the school year begins. State Farm, Safe Kids Kansas and the Kansas Department of Transportation want to encourage families to buckle up and drive safely to protect their most valuable asset, their families.

This year, August 30through September 12, a safety belt awareness campaign called “Bucks for Buckles” is being held in 43 cities across Kansas. $1 bills are being distributed by local volunteers to drivers who have all occupants buckled up securely in their vehicle. Those riding unrestrained will receive educational materials about the effectiveness of seat belts and child safety seats in saving lives and reducing injuries.

According to the 2008 KDOT Safety Belt survey, only 77 percent of those surveyed ages 14 and older, were wearing their seat belt. This compares to the national average of 83 percent. In 2006, Kansas ranked 43rd in the nation in seat belt usage. Last year, 385 people lost their lives on Kansas roadways.

State Farm® has long been a proponent of seat belt use, from the days when seat belts were first installed in cars to today. During the 1940s and 1950s State Farm became an active member of the National Safety Council and was a founding member of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. During the 1980s and 1990s State Farm worked with the National Association of Independent Insurers to help pass legislation to keep the standard requirement of installation of passive restraints in the front seats of new automobiles. And in recent years, through a variety of channels, State Farm continues to work to promote seat belt use among teen, as well as the strengthening of seat belt laws.

“It is important to raise awareness and talk more about seatbelt usage. A great majority of traffic related injuries are preventable. We simply must take personal responsibility and make better choices when behind the wheel. It is no longer debatable, passenger safety restraints save lives.” said Tamara O’Connor, State Farm Public Affairs Supervisor