TOPEKA (KSNT) – Volunteers across Kansas are ready to reward drivers and passengers who are securely fastened into their vehicles.

With an expected up-tick in vehicles on the road as we approach the Labor Day holiday, a Kansas nonprofit wants to urge everyone on the road to put safety first and buckle up. Safe Kids Kansas, sponsored by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), State Farm and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) are looking to encourage families to wear seatbelts on the road to protect what they love most, each other, according to a Safe Kids Kansas press release.

From Aug. 25 through Sept. 10, “Bucks for Buckles” will be taking place in 39 cities across Kansas. According to the press release, this seatbelt awareness campaign will have local volunteers hand out dollar bills to drivers and occupants who are wearing seatbelts. If a volunteer sees you without a seatbelt, they will hand out educational materials to teach you about the effectiveness of seatbelts for children.

“No one can predict when they will be involved in a motor vehicle crash, yet almost all of us will be involved in an automobile crash in our lifetime. In 2021, 424 people lost their lives on Kansas roadways, and 54 percent were unbuckled,” Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas said. “The single most effective means of protecting the lives of you and your passengers is wearing seat belts and using appropriate child restraints every time you ride in the vehicle – even short distances.”

In total, 87% of Kansans surveyed by KDOT wore seat belts in 2022. This compared to the national average of 90% based on a 2021 survey by NHTSA National Occupant Protection Use Survey.

“Seat belts are the single most effective device you can use to save your life during a vehicle crash,” Sage said. “They also reduce your chances of serious injury by as much as 50 percent. It’s simple, so take your life into your own hands and buckle up.”