Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
KSP Works To Save Lives During Labor Day Holiday Weekend
Date of News Release: 08/27/2007
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - The approaching Labor Day holiday weekend marks the end of the summer vacation season and the Kentucky State Police are expecting increased traffic on the state's roadways. To help save lives, KSP will be maximizing its traffic enforcement activities beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday Aug. 31 and continuing through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 3.
"As part of the nationwide 'Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest." campaign, troopers will be conducting saturation patrols and safety checkpoints while coordinating efforts with local law enforcement agencies," says KSP Commissioner Jack Adams. "You'll see more troopers on the road and enforcement will be strict," he adds. "Impaired drivers will be arrested and motorists exceeding posted speed limits or not using seat belts will be ticketed."
As part of Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Action Reduction Effort), the agency will also be targeting interstate highways, parkways and roads leading to boat ramps and waterways.
During last year's three-day Labor Day holiday, there were 770 crashes on Kentucky's roadways, resulting in nine fatalities and 276 injuries. Two of those fatalities involved the use of alcohol and six of the victims were not wearing seat belts.
During the same time period, KSP made 218 arrests for impaired driving, issued 3,266 speed violation citations and cited 40 drivers for child restraint violations.
As of Aug. 26, a total of 547 people have died on Kentucky roads during 2007. One-hundred and twenty-six of these victims were the result of crashes that involved the use of alcohol. Two-hundred and fifty-two were not wearing seat belts.
"Kentucky has a zero tolerance policy regarding impaired driving," explains Capt. Tim Lucas, commander of the KSP Highway Safety Branch. "Driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 is illegal, but you can also be arrested for lower levels if you are under 21 years of age or operating a commercial vehicle. If you are going to drive, it's best not to consume any alcohol at all."
"Even first time violators face immediate arrest, which can result in severe financial burdens including court costs, legal fees, higher auto insurance rates and fines. Other consequences, such as loss of license and even imprisonment, could affect employment," says Lucas.
According to Lt. Col. Dean Hayes, KSP Dir. of Operations, troopers will also be on the lookout for motorists who violate posted speed limits and ignore Kentucky's primary seat belt law. "No warnings will be issued," he says. "Drivers exceeding the speed limit or not wearing a seat belt will receive a citation."
"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," notes Hayes.
"Seat belts are your best defense in crash," he adds. "Seat belt use reduces the risk of sustaining a fatal injury by 45 percent in a car and 60 percent in a light truck."
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.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a properly installed child safety seat reduces the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent to toddlers in passenger cars.
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.
"Many lives can be saved if motorists follow three simple rules this Labor Day weekend," says KSP Commissioner Adams. "Slow down, buckle up and don't drive while impaired."
Citizens can help save lives by reporting impaired, erratic or speeding 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.