Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
You Drink, You Drive...You Lose
KSP to Conduct Safety Checkpoints and Saturation Patrols
(Frankfort, Kentucky) - With more people expected to travel on America's highways during the long July 4th weekend, this week could be one of the deadliest periods ever for impaired driving fatalities. To protect Kentucky's families during this holiday period, the Kentucky State Police Governor's Highway Safety Program will support state and local efforts to protect citizens from impaired drivers.
As part of the You Drink & Drive. You Lose. National Crackdown, the Kentucky State Police Governor's Highway Safety Program will be working with agencies statewide to protect everyone from impaired drivers during this busy time of the year.
From June 27 to July 13, 2003, law enforcement will be out in full force conducting traffic safety checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout the Commonwealth.
After years of gradual improvement, fatalities in alcohol-related crashes are on the rise nationally. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2001, 17,448 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, representing 41% of the 42,116 people killed in all traffic crashes. In 2002, 17,970 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, representing approximately 42% of the 42,850 total traffic fatalities.
Fatalities in alcohol-related crashes are on the rise in Kentucky as well. In 2002, 209 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. That's an increase of 22% from the previous year when 172 people were killed.
"There will be no warnings," said Commissioner Patrick N. Simpson. "Our message is simple - You Drink & Drive. You Lose. Violators can lose their licenses, time from their jobs, and lose money in high fines and court costs as well as possibly face imprisonment for repeat offenses, assault and vehicular homicide.
To help raise awareness about the campaign, the U.S. Congress provided the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration $11 million to produce and place national advertisements in English and Spanish to coincide with the Crackdown. The ads will run from June 20 - July 13, 2003 on national networks and programs primarily viewed by 21-34 year-old males which research shows are the demographic most likely to drive impaired. The ads focus on what research shows affects behavior change among this group - increased threat of arrest and of losing their car, license and money. This is the first time the Crackdown will be supported by a national advertising effort.
Studies by NHTSA show the majority of Americans support these types of efforts to protect their communities from impaired drivers. Americans consider impaired driving one of the nation's most important social issues, ahead of healthcare, poverty/hunger, racism and education. Nearly 97% of Americans view drunk driving as a threat to the community. As a result, the majority of Americans support increased use of enforcement efforts like saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints to arrest violators. Furthermore, three-fourths of Americans also endorse the use of stricter and more severe penalties against impaired drivers.
The Kentucky State Police reminds everyone:
- Don't risk it. If you plan to drive, don't drink.
- Choose a sober designated driver before going out.
- Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a friend to drive you home.
- Spend the night where the activity is being held.
- Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.