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KSP Gears Up For Increased Thanksgiving Holiday Traffic

Date of News Release: 11/20/08

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - With fuel prices hovering around $1.85 a gallon, KSP expects increased traffic on the roadways this holiday. Thanksgiving is the most dangerous holiday of the year for motorists, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This includes the four-day holiday driving period surrounding that date when heavy traffic, weather and long-distance road trips combine to create severe travel conditions. Often, family celebrations include alcohol, which later evolves into impaired driving. Add that to heavy holiday traffic, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Last year, traffic crashes across Kentucky claimed the lives of 10 people during the Thanksgiving travel period including 1,083 traffic crashes with 212 injuries during that time frame.

"The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is traditionally one of the most traveled weekends of the year," said KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer. "To ensure we all make it to our destinations safely, Troopers will be on Kentucky roadways looking for unsafe driving practices including safety belt and impaired driving violations."

"It's the simple, common sense things that can make a crucial difference such as wearing a seat belt, reducing your speed and avoiding driving after consuming alcohol or drugs," notes Brewer.

The official 2008 Thanksgiving holiday enforcement period begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26th and extend through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 30th, 2008.

Kentucky has a zero tolerance policy regarding driving while impaired by alcohol. Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 will result in an immediate arrest, says Captain Tim Lucas, Commander of the Highway Safety Branch.

"Even first time offenders face immediate arrest, which can result in court costs, legal fees, higher auto insurance rates, fines, loss of license and even imprisonment," he adds.

Through Nov. 19, Kentucky has recorded 711 highway fatalities in 2008. This is a decrease of 55 fatalities for the same time period in 2007.

"Even though fatalities have decreased, we must remain vigilant in bringing awareness to all drivers, the importance of exercising safe driving habits," said Lucas. "These needless deaths are tragic and preventable."

Kentucky law requires that all passengers in a vehicle wear safety belts, including children. In July, Governor Beshear signed new booster seat legislation requiring children under age seven and between 40 and 50 inches to be secured in a booster seat. Children under 40 inches are required to be in an approved child safety seat.

An additional focus this holiday season is promoting awareness between motorists and truck drivers about sharing the road. Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miniard, Division Director for KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, encourages motorists and truck drivers to respect each other on the road.

"Trucks need extra time and more space to change lanes or come to a complete stop," said Bailey. "Giving trucks the room they need can prevent crashes and save lives. With increased holiday traffic, sharing the road safely is every driver's responsibility."

KSP urges all motorists to protect themselves and their fellow travelers by following basic safe driving tips:

You will find more tips on Thanksgiving travel at http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/hsp/index.htm

Citizens can contribute to highway safety during the holiday period by reporting erratic, impaired 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 give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number, if possible.

Contact Information for the Kentucky State Police

Kentucky State Police
919 Versailles Road | Frankfort, KY 40601

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