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Officer Richardson honored for seat belt enforcement

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The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety honored 140 law enforcement officers from 123 agencies across the Common-wealth for their efforts to increase the use of seat belts and child restraints in motor vehicles.

The third annual Governor’s Occupant Protection Awards ceremony was held last week at the Marriott Downtown Louisville. Awards were presented to officers with the most occupant protection citations in each agency and division. There are six divisions, broken down by number of officers within the agency, plus a division for Kentucky State Police.

Officer James Richardson of Hodgenville City Police was among those honored.

There were 746 total highway fatalities in Kentucky in 2012, with 592 killed in motor vehicles.  Sixty-two percent of those killed in motor vehicles were not wearing a seat belt.

“Our law enforcement is making a difference, as Kentucky’s seat belt usage rate increased by 1.5 percentage points in 2012 – to 83.7 percent from 82.2 percent in 2011,” said KOHS Director Bill Bell, who presented the awards. “However, there is still a great deal of work to be done. One fatality is too many.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts, when worn correctly, are proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45 percent – and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans.