TFC Michael Murriell
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 14, Ashland
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KSP Boosts Traffic Enforcement Efforts During Labor Day Holiday Period
Date of News Release: 9/2/2004
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - Motorists throughout the state can expect to see the Kentucky State Police frequently during the Labor Day holiday period this year. As part of the "You Drink & Drive. You Lose," national traffic enforcement campaign, troopers are increasing their efforts to save lives by arresting impaired drivers, ticketing speeders and encouraging the use of seat belts during the holiday period, which begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 3 and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Monday Sept. 6.
"Last year, there were 11 crashes that resulted in 11 fatalities in Kentucky during the Labor Day period," notes KSP Commissioner Mark Miller. "Two of these crashes involved alcohol and only two of the drivers were using seat belts. One of the fatalities was pedestrian, one involved a motorcycle and one involved an all-terrain vehicle."
"The message is simple," adds Miller. "We will continue to follow a zero tolerance policy. Enforcement will be strict. If you drive impaired, disobey posted speed limits or fail to buckle up, you will pay. The choice is up to you. Our main goal is to save lives."
As of Sept. 1, a total of 619 people have been killed on Kentucky's roadways this year. That's 13 more than last year at this time. Consequently, KSP will be maximizing its traffic enforcement activities during the Labor Day period by boosting manpower, conducting saturation patrols and safety checkpoints and coordinating efforts with local law enforcement agencies. Last year, KSP made 250 arrests for impaired driving, issued 3,464 speeding citations and cited 54 drivers for child restraint violations during the Labor Day holiday period.
"Failure to wear a safety belt is a secondary violation," explains Capt. Brad Bates, commander of the KSP Community Relations Branch. "A citation may be issued only if a motorist is stopped for reasons other than violation of the seat belt law. However, no warnings will be issued to those drivers found not wearing a safety belt as a secondary violation. They will receive a citation. Protecting yourself, your children and your passengers is your responsibility and it's law enforcement's duty."
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.
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). Signs that a driver might be impaired include weaving, swerving, drifting or straddling the center line; driving on the wrong side of the road; driving at inconsistent speeds; stopping without cause or braking erratically; ignoring or responding slowly to traffic lights; driving too close to curbs and driving at night with no lights. Callers will remain anonymous and should provide a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.
Other tips recommended by KSP for safe holiday road travel include:
- Don't drive impaired. If you have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above, you will be arrested on the spot.
- Obey speed limits. 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.
- Buckle your seat belt. It's your best defense against impaired drivers.
- Slow down in roadway construction zones. Watch for lane closures and merge well before the actual closure.
- 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.
- 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.