Corbin Police Officer recognized for seat belt enforcement

CORBIN — One Corbin police officer was recently recognized by Frankfort for his work in seat belt enforcement.

Although Corbin Police Major David Maiden was unable to attend the ceremony, he was recognized in Frankfort along with officers from across the state for his work to increase the use of seat belts.

The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) honored the law enforcement officers from 120 agencies across the Commonwealth on August 2 for their efforts to increase the use of seat belts and child restraints in motor vehicles.

The Governor’s Occupant Protection Enforcement Awards ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington. Awards were presented to officers with the most occupant protection citations in each agency and in each division.

“These officers, their departments and agencies render a great service for public safety by enforcing our occupant protection laws,” KOHS Acting Executive Director Jason Siwula said before presenting the awards. “Officers would rather write a seat belt or car restraint citation than make a death notification.”

All winners received a plaque, while the top three division winners were presented with the Highway Safety All-Star Award – a commemorative baseball bat from Louisville Slugger.

Corbin Police Chief Rusty Hedrick said the KOHS offers reimbursement grants to agencies who participate in the Click It or Ticket initiative, offsetting any overtime that might occur while a department participates.

“We had several officers participate in the program,” Hedrick said. “Major David Maiden was the leading officer in the occupant protection reinforcements.”

Maiden has been with the Corbin Police Department for over 18 years and is currently the acting assistant chief of police for the city of Corbin.

Maiden handles a lot of the department's day-to-day operations along with Hedrick.

“He’s an outstanding officer with great work ethic,” said Hedrick about Maiden. “He has a great attitude and is a role model for many of our officers.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts, when worn correctly, are proven to reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front-seat occupants by 45 percent and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans. Also according to NHTSA, properly installed child restraints reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars. In light trucks, SUVs and minivans, properly restrained child restraints reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 58 percent for infants and 59 percent for toddlers.

Hedrick said over the years he’s witnessed more and more people come to wear the seat belts.

“That’s great for us,” said Hedrick. “Our main goal is people’s safety. And part of it is education. We want to make people aware of the risk of not wearing their seatbelt.”

With the passage of the primary law, Kentucky’s seat belt usage rate increased from 67 percent in 2006 to 89.9 percent in 2018, according to a press release.

“Kentucky will continue to raise awareness and increase enforcement of this life-saving measure,” said Siwula. “Writing citations is not a strategy designed to increase arrests; in fact, it may result in decreased citation counts over time, which is our goal.”

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