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Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780

"You Drink & Drive.  You Lose" Warns Kentucky State Police

(FRANKFORT, KY) - The Kentucky State Police is urging motorists throughout the state to make the right choice when driving this holiday season. The message is clear and simple: You drink. You drive. You lose

There are many ways to lose and none of them are pleasant. You can lose your driver´s license. You can lose money from fines, court costs, legal fees and time away from work. You can lose your freedom for repeat offenses, assault and vehicular manslaughter. You can lose friends and family. You can lose your good health. You could even lose your life

Beginning Dec. 19 and continuing through Jan. 4, the Kentucky State Police will be helping you make the right choice. By participating in the "You Drink & Drive. You Lose" campaign, a nationwide education and enforcement program sponsored and funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), KSP will be joining local and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout the state to provide 17 nights of high intensity activities designed to arrest impaired drivers and save lives

The agency will also be observing National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend 2003, which runs from 12:01 A.M. Dec. 19 through 11:59 P.M. Dec. 21. This nationwide program is sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and encourages motorists to buckle up, obey speed limits and refrain from drinking and driving

What does all this means to Kentucky motorists? They´ll be seeing a lot more of the Kentucky State Police this holiday season. Plans include:

  • Full utilization of all 950 sworn officers throughout the state
  • Traffic safety checkpoints in strategic, high-risk locations
  • High-visibility, saturation patrols on roadways, highways and parkways
  • Utilization of video equipment and passive alcohol sensors to detect impaired drivers
  • Aggressive advertising and media outreach about impaired driving consequences and enforcement activities
  • Coordination of enforcement strategies with local police and sheriff´s offices for comprehensive coverage

"Impaired driving is no accident. It is one of the most frequently committed, violent crimes in America," says Stephen B. Pence, secretary of the Kentucky Justice Cabinet. "It now kills more than 17,000 people and injures nearly 260,000 others in the U.S. every year. Every 30 minutes, someone in America dies in an impaired driving crash. Every two minutes, someone is seriously injured."

In Kentucky alone, there were 5,839 alcohol-related crashes in 2002, resulting in 3,979 injuries. Nearly one-third of the 915 people killed on Kentucky´s roadways last year were involved in an alcohol-related crash. After many years of decline, these statistics represent a 22 percent increase in alcohol-related fatalities. During last year´s "You Drink & Drive. You Lose" mobilization period, there were 18 impaired-driving crash deaths in Kentucky

"Impaired driving is an issue that not only affects all those on the road, but also the entire community," says Pence. "The loss extends beyond fatalities and the destructive impact on families. Everyone pays for impaired driving through the use of already limited public funds, higher health care costs and higher insurance premiums."

"The greatest tragedy is that these crashes are predictable and preventable," he adds. "Programs that combine heightened public awareness and intensive enforcement, such as "You Drink & Drive. You Lose," are an effective way to impact impaired driving. They also put potential offenders on notice that their actions are not only serious, but criminal. It´s a life-saving message that can deter thousands of potential violators."

Kentucky motorists should be aware of the following facts regarding impaired driving:

  • Kentucky has a no tolerance stance regarding impaired driving. Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 can result in immediate arrest even for a first offense
  • Impairment begins with one alcoholic drink. Studies show that even one drink decreases the ability to react quickly, an important factor when you´re driving a vehicle
  • The rate of alcohol absorption by the body varies according to an individual´s height, weight, experience with alcohol and food eaten prior to consumption. It is a good idea to arrange for a designated driver or alternate transportation even if only a minimal amount of alcohol is consumed
  • The body can only remove one ounce of alcohol per hour
  • Alcohol affects the brain immediately, affecting the nerves, muscles, vision and speech
  • A first-time drinker will have a greater reaction to alcohol
  • Women have stronger reactions to alcohol than men
  • Impaired driving results in criminal repercussions, including fines, loss of driving privileges, arrest, incarceration and a criminal record

The Kentucky State Police offers the following tips regarding the use of alcohol and driving during the holiday season:

  • Don´t risk it. If you plan to drive, don´t drink. There will be no warnings
  • Choose a sober, designated driver before partying
  • Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a friend to drive you home
  • Spend the night where the activity is being held
  • Report impaired drivers to the Kentucky State Police. Call 1-800-222-5555 (in the state of Kentucky only, does not work out of state) toll free and provide direction of travel, vehicle description and license number if possible
  • Always wear your seat belt. It´s your best defense against an impaired driver

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