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Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Public Affairs Branch (502) 782-1780

Kentucky State Police Gear Up For Highway Safety During Labor Day Holiday Weekend

Date of News Release: 08/28/2006

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - Motorists on Kentucky's highways can expect to see more Kentucky state troopers during the Labor Day holiday, which begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. Traffic is expected to increase significantly during the three-day weekend, which marks the traditional end of the summer vacation season.

Last year, 11 people died in 12 separate traffic crashes in Kentucky during the three-day Labor Day Weekend. Alcohol was a suspected factor in one of the crashes, and eight of the victims were not wearing a seat belt. Three of the victims were on motorcycles. Two of the motorcycle victims were not wearing a helmet.

As part of a national campaign to combat impaired driving, law enforcement officers will be out in force conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to get more drunk drivers off the road, said Jack Adams, commissioner of the Kentucky State Police.

"Police officers throughout the state are participating in the 'Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.' campaign to keep impaired drivers off the road," said Adams. "We want everyone to play it safe and always designate a sober driver or find an alternative method of getting home if they have been out drinking."

"Fatalities and serious injuries resulting from motorcycle and ATV crashes are also significantly higher when no helmet is worn," said Adams. "It's just not worth taking the chance."

KSP Capt. Eric Walker, commander of the Governor's Highway Safety Program, said the zero-tolerance policy of driving under the influence will be strictly enforced.

"Driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher is illegal," said Walker. "Motorists who choose to drink and drive can face jail time and lose their driver's license. They may also face higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work and other expenses - not to mention the risk of killing themselves and others."

KSP will also be directing extra attention to interstate highways, parkways, roadways and arteries leading to boat ramps and waterways during the holiday as part of Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). To boost their visibility, KSP troopers will be using daytime running lights on their vehicles during the enforcement period.

Walker also reminded drivers to be aware of driving procedures in the case of emergency vehicles approaching from the rear on four-lane roads.

"Drivers are required by Kentucky law to move over to the lane farthest away from the approaching emergency vehicle if they are on a four-lane road with two lanes proceeding in the same direction -- but only if they can do so safely," said Walker.

  • Buckle your seat belt. It's your best defense in a crash. Children 40 inches tall or less must be buckled into a child safety restraint seat that meets federal standards. Children over 40 inches tall and adults must wear a seat belt. The driver is responsible for ensuring adherence of his passengers to these requirements.
  • Slow down. Excessive speed reduces your ability to avoid a crash, extends your vehicle's stopping distance and increases the severity of a crash when it occurs.
  • Stay alert in construction zones. Watch for lane closures and merge well before the actual closure. Be prepared for changing road surfaces. Obey road crew flaggers and be prepared for sudden stops.
  • Don't tailgate. Follow other vehicles at a safe distance. If you find yourself being tailgated, don't hit the brakes. Rather, slow down gradually and let the other vehicle pass.
  • Avoid aggressive driving behaviors such as passing on the shoulder of the road, changing lanes without signaling, violating traffic signals and weaving in and out of traffic.
  • Expect the unexpected. Watch traffic around you and be prepared to react.
  • Watch for road debris, such as tire treads, garbage, lumber, gravel, tree limbs, mufflers and exhaust parts.
  • Avoid or minimize in-car distractions such as cell phone use, changing tapes or CDs, eating or other activities that can remove your attention from the road.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can cause lapses in attention, slowed awareness and impaired judgement.

Citizens can contribute to highway safety during the holiday period by reporting impaired or 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 provide a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.

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