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Commissioner's Comments - "100 Deadly Days of Summer"

By Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police Commissioner

Date of News Release: 05/15/2008

An image of KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer(Frankfort, KY) - Many families plan summer vacation road trips which include scenic areas within the Commonwealth that are a convenient driving distance from home. This vacation time frame is often referred to by law enforcement as the "100 Deadly Days of Summer," part of a national enforcement campaign that targets aggressive drivers. The time period from Memorial Day to Labor Day represents one of the most dangerous and deadliest times of year on our nation's highways. An overarching reason is the significant jump in alcohol-related traffic crashes and fatalities.

Impaired driving is one of America's deadliest problems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that an average of 36 fatalities occur each day on America's roadways as a result of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. Every 30 minutes, someone in America dies in an alcohol-related crash, and more than 300,000 are injured each year. Statistics reveal that about three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives.

During the Commonwealth's peak travel season, we must call awareness to the need for increased driver safety. With rare exception, the vast majority of vehicle crashes are preventable. The Kentucky State Police (KSP) can help stem the tide, but we also need every Kentuckian's cooperation. KSP has a toll free number (800.222.5555) that motorists can call to report impaired, aggressive or unsafe drivers.

Seat belt usage is the single most effective action you can take to protect yourself in a vehicle crash. Seat belt use reduces the risk of sustaining a fatal injury by 45 percent in a car and 60 percent in a light truck. Additionally, 60 percent of passengers killed in traffic crashes are not wearing seat belts. As of May 1, 2008, a total of 224 people have lost their lives on Kentucky's roadways. Of the 224 motor vehicle fatalities, 125 were not wearing seat belts and 47 were the result of crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol.

Highway Safety Tips

Despite record gas prices, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that nearly 39 million drivers across the United States will hit the road during each Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends. If you're going to be one of the countless people behind the wheel, here are a few safety tips you should know:

Obey speed limits. 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.

Don't tailgate. Follow other vehicles at a safe distance. If you find yourself being tailgated, don't hit the brakes. Slow down gradually and let the other vehicle pass you.

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.

Avoid or minimize in-car distractions such as cell phone use, changing tapes or CDs, or eating.

Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can cause lapses in attention, slowed awareness and impaired judgment.

Take frequent breaks to keep alert during long distance trips.

Be extra cautious around large trucks. They have large "blind spots" and much longer stopping distances than passenger cars.

Please do your part to be safe and remember that 80 percent of crashes occur within 20 miles of home at speeds of 45 miles per hour or less. About 40 percent of all fatal crashes occur on roads where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or less. These tips will increase your chances of survival and reduced speed will also increase your fuel mileage.

The Kentucky State Police, in conjunction with local law enforcement will be out in force conducting safety check points, saturation patrols on interstates and local highways with emphasis on high-crash locations throughout the summer. Do your part not to be a statistic during this dangerous time period by buckling up and driving the speed limit.

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