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Enforcement targets Ky. night travelers not using seat belts over Thanksgiving

Those traveling at night without seat belts are prime targets of state and local police Thanksgiving-safety traffic enforcement, authorities said.

The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety reminded Kentucky drivers that officers will enforce a state law that requires seat-belt use.

The Thanksgiving enforcement period runs Nov. 14 to 27.

There were 1,305 crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday last year, killing nine people and injuring 405, according to a news release from the highway safety office. Of the nine who were killed, four were not wearing seat belts or child safety seats.

Extra emphasis will be placed on seat-belt enforcement at night, said Bill Bell, acting director of the state highway safety office. At night, vehicle passengers are least likely to buckle up and most likely to die in crashes.

Seventy-two percent of 318 passengers who died between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. in 2010 were not wearing seat belts, compared with 55 percent who were unbelted from 6 a.m. to 8:59 p.m.

"Sadly, the holidays, which for many are the happiest time of the year, are also one of the deadliest and most tragic," Bell said in the news release. "Clearly this is an indication that people are just not aware of the huge risk taken by not buckling up."

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