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

Motorists Will See A Lot Of Gray During Labor Day Holiday Period

Date of Release: 09/01/05

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) --- The Kentucky State Police plan to maintain a high visibility on roadways throughout the state during the upcoming Labor Day holiday. According to KSP Commissioner Mark Miller, the bulk of the agency's 939 troopers will be assigned to traffic patrol duty during this time period, which begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2 and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Monday Sept. 5.

"Last year, there were 13 crashes that resulted in 18 fatalities in Kentucky during the Labor Day period," notes Miller. "One of those crashes involved alcohol and 13 of the victims were not using seat belts. There was one triple fatality crash and three double fatality crashes."

As of August 28, a total of 590 people have been killed on Kentucky's roadways this year. That's 28 less than last year at this time. "While this decrease is encouraging, we still lose far too many lives on the highways," says Miller. " Many of these deaths are avoidable."

As part of the "You Drink & Drive. You Lose" national traffic enforcement campaign, KSP troopers will be maximizing their efforts to save lives by arresting impaired drivers, ticketing speeders and encouraging the use of seat belts. In addition to boosting manpower, KSP troopers will be conducting saturation patrols, safety checkpoints and coordinating efforts with local law enforcement agencies.

"It's simple," says Miller. "We will continue to follow a zero tolerance policy. Enforcement will be strict. If you drive impaired, you will be arrested. If you disobey posted speed limits or fail to use seat belts, you will be cited, which will cost you money. The choice is up to you. Our main goal is to save lives."

Last year, KSP made 254 arrests for impaired driving, issued 2,669 speeding citations and cited 68 drivers for child restraint violations during the Labor Day holiday period.

KSP will also be directing extra attention to interstate highways, parkways, roadways and arteries leading to boat ramps and waterways during the holiday as part of Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). To boost their visibility, KSP troopers will be using daytime running lights on their vehicles during the enforcement period.

Motorists should also remember that Kentucky law requires them to slow down and use caution when they see a law enforcement or emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road with its lights flashing. They must move over to the lane farthest away from the vehicle if they are on a two-lane road and can do so safely.

According to Lt. Col. Dean Hayes, KSP Director of Operations, there are several ways to increase your safety on the highways during the holiday:

  • Buckle your seat belt. It's your best defense in a crash. "Failure to wear a seat belt is a secondary violation," explains Hayes "Citations are issued only if a motorist is stopped for other reasons. However, no warnings will be issued. Drivers not wearing a seat belt will receive a citation."

According to Kentucky law, all children 40 inches in height or less, must be buckled into a child safety restraint seat that meets federal standards. Children over 40 inches tall must wear a seat belt. Violation of this law will result in a $50.00 fine with an additional $10.00 fine donated to the Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund.

Motorists should also be aware that the back seat is the safest place for children to sit, especially in vehicles equipped with passenger-side air bags. Infants and toddlers should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag. Parents should always be sure that their child's safety seat has been properly installed in the vehicle according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Kentucky law makes the driver responsible for assuring that all occupants of the vehicle are properly restrained. Violation of this law will result in a fine not to exceed $25.00.

  • Slow down. Excessive speed reduces your ability to avoid a crash, extends your vehicle's stopping distance and increases the severity of a crash when it occurs. "Impact rises dramatically with speed," says Hayes. "From 40 to 60 miles per hour, a vehicle's speed increases 50 percent. The energy increased in a crash increases more than 200 percent."
  • Stay alert in construction zones. Watch for lane closures and merge well before the actual closure. Be prepared for changing road surfaces. Obey road crew flaggers and be prepared for sudden stops.
  • Don't tailgate. Follow other vehicles at a safe distance. If you find yourself being tailgated, don't hit the brakes. Slow down gradually and let the other vehicle pass you.
  • Avoid aggressive driving behaviors such as passing on the shoulder of the road, changing lanes without signaling, violating traffic signals and weaving in and out of traffic.
  • Expect the unexpected. Watch traffic around you and be prepared to react.
  • Watch for road debris such as tire treads, garbage, lumber, gravel, tree limbs, mufflers and exhaust parts.
  • Avoid or minimize in-car distractions such as cell phone use, changing tapes or CDs, eating or other activities that can remove your attention from the road.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can cause lapses in attention, slowed awareness and impaired judgement.

Citizens can contribute to highway safety during the holiday period by reporting impaired or erratic drivers to the KSP toll-free hotline at 1-800-222-5555 (in the state of Kentucky only, does not work out of state). Callers will remain anonymous and should provide a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.

"By following this simple advice, we can all contribute to highway safety," says Miller. "Protecting yourself, your children and your passengers is your responsibility and it's law enforcement's duty."

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