Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
Motorists Can Help Kentucky State Police
Save Lives Over Memorial Day Weekend
(FRANKFORT, KY) - Motorists throughout the Commonwealth can help the Kentucky State Police make the roads safer this weekend by remembering two words: buckle up.
"Do it for yourself and your family," advises Col. Linda Mayberry, deputy commissioner of the Kentucky State Police. "This one simple act can make a real difference. Kentucky is serious. We're going to save lives."
The Memorial Day weekend, which begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 24 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 27, traditionally marks the beginning of the summer driving season and the Kentucky State Police expect a significant increase in traffic on the state's roadways. Last year, 10 people lost their lives in 10 separate accidents during this time period. Three of the fatalities involved alcohol and only one of the 10 victims was wearing a seat belt.
This year, as part of the Buckle Up Kentucky educational campaign and Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a federal program, Kentucky State Police officers will join county and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state to focus on high crash locations with special emphasis on occupant protection, for both children and adults.
"Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the U.S." notes Mayberry. "There will be special emphasis on those who fail to restrain their child passengers," she adds. "Laws throughout the 50 states require that children be restrained, but six of 10 children killed in automobile accidents are not secured at all."
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 also 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.
"Failure to wear a seatbelt is a secondary violation," explains Mayberry. "A citation may be issued only if a motorist is stopped for reasons other than the violation of the seat belt law. However, no warnings will be issued to those found not to be wearing a seat belt as a secondary violation."
Kentucky State Police officers will be coordinating their enforcement strategies with local police and sheriff's offices this weekend targeting erratic drivers, speeders, safety belt and child restraint violations, says Mayberry. Citizens can assist officers by calling 1-800-222-5555 (in the state of Kentucky only, does not work out of state) toll free to report suspected impaired drivers.
"All a person needs to do is provide the direction of travel, a description of the vehicle and the license number," says Mayberry. "We'll take it from there."