How long have we been texting now? What is it, like about 15 years? Probably more? Anyway, it never ceases to amaze me what I see while I'm driving.

You'd think, by now, that "no texting and driving" would have been drummed into our heads by now. But it was just a couple of days ago that a driver (who was texting) sort of swerved toward me into my lane. Nothing happened, but, good Lord, we've all been over this a million times.

Did you know that Kentucky is part of a region designated by the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that sees some of the nation's highest traffic death numbers?

In addition to the Bluegrass State, Region 3 includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

This region is the focus of Operation Crash Reduction (OCR), a campaign that runs October 9th through October 12th.

And while I fired a shot across the bow at texting while driving (which DOES lead to a great many traffic accidents), OCR's primary focus during this four-day period will be seat belt usage.

It will be a high-visibility campaign conducted by law enforcement, according to a press release issued by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety.

From 2014 through 2018, this region had 882 fatal accidents in a two-week period from October 1st through October 15th. That's 63 a day, a ghastly number.

In more than 45 percent of these fatalities, the vehicle's occupants were unrestrained.

And it seems October--and, specifically, the first two weeks of the month--is the deadliest month for vehicle crashes in these states and the District of Columbia.

So please buckle up. You know, I have been driving for 38 years and never once have I gotten into a vehicle without fastening my seat belt. And I started driving before it became law.

And if a seat belt is worn correctly, according to the NHTSA, the risk of a fatality shrinks by 45 percent for front-seat passengers and 60 percent for occupants of pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans.

Buckle up, Kentucky. It's the smart and safe thing to do.

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