The Kentucky State Police request a unique Christmas gift from Kentuckians this year.
They are asking for the gift of life. Simply put, they want motorists to wear their seat belts every time they get in their vehicle.
Sgt. Michael Webb, spokesperson for the agency, says performing the simple click of a seat belt will save lives.
"We are seeing an increase in traffic deaths in Kentucky this year and several of those tragedies could have been avoided if the motorist would have been wearing a seat belt," says Webb.
Webb says it is heart-wrenching for troopers who have to notify families that their loved one has been killed in a crash.
"It's twice as hard when you know the death could have been prevented," adds Webb. "It's a proven fact that people have a better chance of surviving a crash when they are wearing their seat belts."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45 percent, opposed to those who don't wear them.
Webb says the agency will utilize all resources available during the holiday season in an effort to reduce loss of life on Kentucky roadways. This will include traffic safety checkpoints, saturation patrols in high crash, high traffic locations, radar and laser details and coordinated enforcement activities with local police and sheriffs departments for maximum coverage.
As of December 21, 2015, there have been 712 traffic deaths on Kentucky roadways this year. That is 72 more traffic deaths than reported in 2014 during the same reporting period.
KSP has a toll-free number (1-800-222-5555) that citizens can call to confidentially report impaired or erratic drivers. They can also download the free KSP mobile phone app. The app provides quick, direct access to the state police for a wide range of benefits including weather, road and traffic information as well as text, voice and photo tip capabilities to report criminal behavior. The app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android applications and can be easily downloaded free of charge through Apple and Google Play stores.