The objective of this report was to document the results of the “Buckle Up Kentucky: It’s the Law & It’s Enforced” 2004 campaign in Kentucky. The campaign involved a combination of earned media, paid media, and enforcement. The earned media started two weeks prior to Memorial Day 2004 and continued through the enforcement period. The paid media started one week prior to Memorial Day. The enforcement period was a two-week period including the week before and the week of Memorial Day.

The evaluation of the campaign included documenting the activities associated with the program (publicity and enforcement) and evaluating the results. The evaluation involved conducting observations of seat belt usage at a sample of locations across the state, documenting the enforcement activities, and comparing the number of fatal and injury crashes during the enforcement period with previous years.

Seat belt usage at a mini-sample set of 21 locations across the state (compared to 200 sites for a full statewide survey) found that usage increased from a baseline level of 64.5 percent to a high of 70.5 percent during the enforcement phase of the campaign. No substantial difference in usage rates could be associated with only the media portion of the campaign with usage rates of 64.5 and 65.4 percent during the earned and paid media, respectively.

Enforcement was conducted by both state and local police through saturated enforcement and checkpoints. A total of 6,587 seat belt citations and 429 child restraint citations were given during the two-week enforcement period.

The numbers of injury crashes and injuries during the two-week enforcement period of the campaign were lower than in any of the previous three years. The number of injuries during this period was 235 less than the average of the previous three years.

A review of the data results in the opinion that the current law in Kentucky must be changed from secondary to primary enforcement to obtain a long-term high seat belt use percentage. There must also be an awareness by the public that the law is being enforced.

Report Date


Report Number


Digital Object Identifier



The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky or the Kentucky State Police. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names or trade names are for identification purposes only and are not to be considered as endorsements.