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Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780

Kentucky State Police Gear Up for Highway
Safety During Labor Day Holiday

Frankfort, KY - Motorists on Kentucky's highways can expect to see more state police troopers during the Labor Day holiday, which begins at 6:00 P.M. on Friday, August 30th and ends at midnight on Monday, Sept. 2nd. The reason is simple: to save lives.

Last year, 12 people in Kentucky lost their lives in 11 separate crashes during the Labor Day period. Three of the fatalities involved alcohol and only three of the 12 victims were wearing seat belts.

As a result, the Kentucky State Police plan to boost their visibility through increased highway patrols and traffic safety checkpoints. They will also participate in Operation SAFE (Seatbelts Are For Everyone), a federally funded overtime program designed to maximize occupant protection enforcement, and Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort).

"Vehicle traffic is expected to increase significantly throughout the state during this three-day holiday period," notes Patrick N. Simpson, commissioner of the Kentucky State Police. "We'll be using all the resources we have to make Kentucky's roadways safer by reminding drivers to slow down and buckle up."

Those resources include all sworn officers, even those not normally assigned to highway duty such as academy and driver testing personnel. "That means almost 950 officers will be in the field throughout the holiday," says Simpson. "They'll be focusing on speeding violations, alcohol-impaired drivers, reckless driving, safety belt and child restraint violations."

Troopers will also be coordinating their enforcement strategies with local police and sheriff's offices. As part of the "You Drink & Drive. You Lose" campaign, the Kentucky State Police will coordinate enforcement efforts with local law enforcement agencies to conduct traffic safety checkpoints and saturation patrols in high crash locations. This program is a comprehensive, impaired-driving prevention effort focused on highly visible traffic enforcement activities to deter impaired driving.

Impaired driving is a crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures nearly 305,000 people every year in the U.S. Last year there were 5,853 alcohol-related traffic collisions in Kentucky.

"Motorists should be aware that Kentucky has a no tolerance stance regarding driving while intoxicated," says Simpson. "Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 can result in immediate arrest even for a first offense."

Law enforcement officers will utilize video equipment as well as passive alcohol sensors to assist them in their efforts to combat alcohol-impaired driving within the Commonwealth.

Simpson encourages citizens to help keep the state's roadways safe by reporting drivers suspected of being alcohol-impaired. "Just call 1-800-222-5555 (in the state of Kentucky only, does not work out of state) toll free and provide a direction of travel, vehicle description and a license number," he says. "We'll do the rest."

"We want to make a real difference in saving lives," Simpson concludes. "If we can save even one life, it's worth the effort."

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