It is not uncommon to see police officers patrolling school zones, but for a specified two-week period, they will be watching the areas around high schools even more.
The Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office's Seatbelts Are For Everyone program, which is also known as SAFE, began Feb. 26 and runs through March 9.
"We assign an officer to patrol the high school for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after school," said Officer Charles Shell of the Newton Police Department.
A watchful eye is also being kept on high school drivers in Halstead, Hesston and Burrton.
"The officers are paying special attention to seatbelts and the school zones," said Halstead Police Chief Josh Orem.
If you make sure to wear your seatbelt every time you get in the car, it will eventually become a habit — one that could save your life.
"The focus is to get them started early so it becomes a normal thing," Orem said.
According to the KTSRO, properly worn seatbelts reduce the risk of front seat passengers receiving a fatal injury in a crash by 45 percent. The greatest chance of crashing during one's lifetime occurs in the first six months after a driver gets their license and the fatality rate for drivers ages 16 to 19, based on miles driven, is four times higher than for drivers ages 25 to 60.
Kansas law states that anyone riding in the front seat of a car must wear a seatbelt at all times; drivers can be pulled over if they, their front seat passenger or a back seat rider under 18 is not buckled up. Backseat passengers 18 or older can also be cited for not wearing a seatbelt, but not as a primary violation.
A seatbelt ticket costs those 18 and older $30; those ages 14 to 17 have to pay $60.
In 2015, 13 teens lost their lives due to car crashes in Kansas; 40 percent of those teens were either not wearing a seatbelt at all or wearing it improperly.
"The main focus of this is making sure everybody is wearing their seatbelts," Shell said.
Shell said Newton High School students are generally remembering to buckle up when driving or riding in a car.
"The couple of times I've done it, the percentage that wore their seatbelt was greater than the percentage of those who didn't," Shell said.
Teenage drivers also need to be aware of the risks of becoming distracted while driving.
"Put down your cellphones and don't text," Orem said. "One of the most dangerous things is texting and driving."
For more information about SAFE, visit https://www.ktsro.org/safe.