Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
KSP Asks for Public's Assistance in
Saving Lives this Thanksgiving Holiday
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Kentucky has recorded 825 highway fatalities in 2003, one more than at this time last year. In an effort to save lives, the Kentucky State Police will be boosting its traffic patrols and operating safety checkpoints throughout the state beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 26 and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30. Traffic safety is an effort we can´t afford to ignore and everyone can help.
"In order to reduce these needless deaths, we´re urging motorists to slow down and use courtesy when traveling on the state´s roadways," says Kentucky State Police Commissioner Patrick N. Simpson. "Allow additional time to arrive at your destination, buckle up and use child safety restraint devices."
As part of their increased activities, the Kentucky State Police will be participating in two programs designed to reduce human suffering on the highways: Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) and Buckle Up Kentucky: It´s The Law & It´s Enforced
Operation C.A.R.E. is a nationwide program aimed at reducing crashes on interstates and parkways by concentrating on the three key causes on highway fatalities: speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. (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 even for first time offenders.)
Buckle Up Kentucky enforcement began on Monday, November 17 and runs through Nov. 30, with increased emphasis on the proper use of seat belts and child safety seats. If a motorist is observed with a child under 40 inches tall that is not properly secured in a child restraint system, the driver will be cited - no warnings, no exceptions.
By participating in these programs, Kentucky State Police troopers will be able to work overtime during the holiday period to target impaired drivers, speeders and those not using seat belts through traffic safety checkpoints and saturation patrols in high crash and high traffic locations. Troopers will be coordinating their enforcement activities with local police and sheriff´s offices. They´ll also be using video equipment and passive alcohol sensors to assist their efforts to combat alcohol-impaired driving.
"Although this year´s highway fatality rate has only increased by one so far, it is up 67 from the same period in 2001," notes Simpson. "These numbers are not just statistics, they represent human lives. The needless loss of even one life is a tragedy. We can do better. By paying more attention to our actions and behaviors when we get behind the wheel and using existing safety equipment, we can all contribute to reducing crashes and saving lives. We can make a difference."
Citizens can contribute to highway safety during the holiday period by reporting 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). Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number, if possible.