TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansans can expect a heightened law enforcement presence on the roads with the “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign in action.

This announcement comes from the Kansas Department of Transportation, which is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the Thanksgiving weekend. Law enforcement will be on the lookout for speeders, seat belt use and impaired drivers, according to KDOT.

“Whether driving down the street or across the country, you endanger yourself by not buckling up and you are letting others be in danger if you don’t require them to use their seat belts, too,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz. “Drivers and passengers should use that seat belt every single time they get into a vehicle.”

Statistics shared by KDOT show 319 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes in Kansas during 2021. That same year, 46.4% of those killed were NOT restrained.

“A simple click any time you head out will help you make it to the table and to your family safely,” said Gary Herman, KDOT Behavioral Safety Manager. “The odds for crashing increase with more vehicles on the road, and you can’t control how many people are out on Thanksgiving weekend. But you can ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up.”

The NHTSA reports that seat belts have saved more than 100,000 people in the U.S. in the past decade. Unrestrained drivers and people ejected from a vehicle during a crash do not have good odds for survival, according to the NHTSA. National statistics show that eight out of 10 passenger vehicle occupants ejected from vehicles in crashed were killed in 2020. Only 1% of occupants wearing seat belts were ejected in fatal crashes, compared to 26% of those who were unrestrained in 2020.

KDOT said the surveillance period for “Click It or Ticket” will be active from Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Monday, Nov. 28. Any violation of traffic safety laws can result in a fine and certain violations can result in jail time.