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

Summer Traffic Safety Campaign Puts "Heat" on Traffic Violators


Date of Release: 06/06/05

FRANKFORT, KY (June 6, 2005) - Police agencies statewide will be intensifying highway safety efforts this summer during a campaign called "100 Days of Summer Heat" that begins today and runs through Aug. 18.

The highway safety campaign will focus statewide on traffic violations such as impaired driving and failure to use safety belts or place young children in child safety seats. There also will be special enforcement emphasis weekends, June 17-19, July 1-5 and Aug. 12-14, to crack down on excessive speeding. Police will be conducting checkpoints and concentrated patrols will be active on interstates, secondary corridors and local highways, especially high-crash locations.

During a news conference today at the I-64 rest area in Shelby County, Lt. Governor and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Steve Pence asked that people focus on driving safely.

"During the commonwealth's peak travel season, we must call attention to the need for increased driver safety awareness," said Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence. "I commend the Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement and local police departments across the commonwealth for their efforts to keep our roadways safe, and encourage all motorists to buckle up, drive safe and be mindful of fellow drivers during your travels this summer."

At the news conference, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Mark L. Miller highlighted the role that excessive speed plays in fatal crashes.

"During the peak summer months of 2004, nearly 250 people were killed in Kentucky motor vehicle crashes. Speeding was the main factor in more than one-quarter of those fatalities," said Miller. "With the exception of few motor vehicle crashes, the vast majority of crashes are preventable. Police efforts can help stem the tide, but we also need every Kentuckian's cooperation."

Miller also asked citizens to dial 911 if they observe a suspected impaired driver.

Representatives from the Kentucky Department of Vehicle Enforcement and the Louisville Metro Police Department also attended today's news conference.

A full media blitz, including a public service announcement for television featuring Pence and Kentucky law enforcement officers, focuses not only on speeding, impaired driving and safety belt violations, but reminds the public that when emergency vehicles approach, it's the law to slow down and move over for those vehicles.

During the first campaign in 2004, then dubbed "100 Days of Heat," participating law enforcement agencies issued more than 50,000 tickets for speeding and more than 11,000 citations for not using seat belts or child safety seats. Police also arrested 5,684 people for impaired driving.

Kentucky is one of eight states in the Southeast participating in the "100 Days of Summer Heat" campaign.

"100 Days of Summer Heat" Information Sheet

  • The "100 Days of Summer Heat" campaign mainly focuses on speed enforcement efforts in eight Southeastern states (Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi). Besides speeding, the enforcement effort also focuses on impaired driving and failure to wear safety belts.
  • "100 Days of Summer Heat" is a summertime traffic safety enforcement campaign with special emphasis on three weekend periods (June 17-19, July 1-5 and August 12-14). The primary message during the June and August enforcement periods will be speed and safety belts. The primary message over the July 4th holiday is alcohol and speed.
  • Goals of the campaign are to reduce the number of motor vehicle fatalities and injuries associated with speeding, impaired driving and safety belt violations this summer. Methods employed to meet these goals will be increased, integrated traffic enforcement and using radio and television ads to heighten public awareness of that enforcement and remind citizens to drive safely.
  • This is the second year for the campaign.
  • The 2004 "100 Days of Heat" campaign resulted in an overall 34% decline in speed-related fatalities in the Southeast region, when compared to the same period in 2003 before the campaign began.
  • Last year during Kentucky's"100 Days of Heat," participating law enforcement agencies in the state issued more than 50,000 speeding tickets and more than 11,000 citations for not using safety belts or child safety seats.
  • Throughout the summer, the Governor's Highway Safety Program will run TV and radio ads to inform drivers about the targeted enforcement effort to reduce speeding and impaired driving, as well as to get more people to buckle up and move over for emergency vehicles.
  • All state and local law enforcement agencies are encouraged to participate in the campaign, especially during the emphasis weekends.

Statistics

  • In 2004 in Kentucky, there were 9,574 speeding-related crashes, including 179 crashes that resulted in the deaths of 227 people.
  • Speed-related fatalities for 2004 increased, compared with each of the previous four years.
  • During the peak summer months of 2004 (the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends), nearly 250 people were killed in Kentucky motor vehicle crashes. Speeding was the main factor in 27% - more than one-quarter - of those fatalities.
  • As of June 5, 2005, Kentucky's preliminary statistics on motor vehicle fatalities show that 355 people have died on Kentucky highways since the first of the year. This is the same number of fatalities compared to this time last year.
  • Speeding is one of the most common contributing factors in fatal crashes.
  • Studies show that higher travel speeds are responsible for a significant increase in highway death rates. Kentucky's rate is significantly higher than the national average.
  • Motor vehicle crashes claimed 2,872 lives in the eight Southeastern states during the summer months in 2003 (the latest data). More than 30 percent of these deaths can be attributed to speed-related crashes.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that speed-related crashes cost society more than $40 billion per year.

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