KSP Highway Safety Branch

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KSP Highway Safety Branch News Release

KSP Cautions Drivers To Slow Down On Roadways During Labor Day Weekend

Date of News Release: 08/29/08

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - The Labor Day holiday weekend marks the end of 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. 29 and continuing through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 1, 2008.

Kentucky State Police are urging drivers to keep our roadways safe by slowing down and buckling up while they travel.

According to Lt. Col. Mike Sapp, 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."

"I have instructed our Troopers to aggressively enforce the speed laws," said Sapp. "Don't try to cut a few minutes off your travel time by speeding or driving aggressively. It's just not worth it."

"Seat belts are your best defense in a 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," noted Sapp.

KSP reminds people who are throwing a Labor Day party that they can be held liable and prosecuted if someone they serve ends up in an impaired driving crash. Guests should have designated sober drivers or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers. A party host should keep the numbers for local cab companies handy and take the keys away from anyone thinking of driving impaired, advised Sapp.

"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.

During last year's three-day Labor Day holiday; there were 778 crashes on Kentucky's roadways, resulting in 14 fatalities and 670 injuries. Three of those fatalities involved the use of alcohol and six of the victims were not wearing seat belts.

As of Aug. 28, a total of 499 people have died on Kentucky roads during 2008. One-hundred of these victims were the result of crashes that involved the use of alcohol. One-hundred and nineteen were not wearing seat belts.

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 between 40 and 50 inches tall and under age seven must be in a child booster seat.

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 by 54 percent to toddlers in passenger cars.

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 can remain anonymous and should provide a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.

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