Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
KSP Increasing Patrols During July 4th Holiday
Date of News Release: 07/01/2009
(Frankfort, Ky.) -- The American Automobile Association (AAA) has projected that travel over the Independence Day holiday will drop 1.9 percent this year compared to 2008. They anticipate that approximately 37.1 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home during the holiday period.
KSP is gearing up for heavy instate travel and will be participating in the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) Fourth of July 'Over the Limit. Under Arrest.' holiday High Visibility Enforcement program.
Sgt. David Jude, Commander for the KSP Highway Safety Branch says that the July 4th holiday period has become one of the most dangerous times for highway travel.
"Last year, there were 901 crashes on Kentucky roadways during this four-day time period. These collisions resulted in 9 fatalities and 650 people injured. Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented if motorists practiced basic defensive driving skills such as obeying speed limits, using seat belts and not driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol."
Impaired driving tends to increase during holiday periods, notes Jude. "Unfortunately, too many people don't understand that alcohol, drugs and driving just don't mix," he says. "Impaired driving is no accident, nor is it a victimless crime."
State troopers will be aggressively enforcing Kentucky's zero tolerance policy regarding impaired driving during the July 4th holiday period and will be working overtime to provide increased saturation patrols and traffic safety checkpoints in high crash, high traffic locations.
"Although driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 is illegal, you can also be arrested for lower levels if you are under 21 years of age or operating a commercial vehicle," Jude explains. "If you are going to drive, it's best not to consume any alcohol at all."
"Even first time violators face immediate arrest, which can result in court costs, legal fees, higher auto insurance rates, fines, loss of license and even imprisonment," he adds. "The consequences are serious and real."
"Crashes can happen anywhere," says Jude. "Three out of four happen within 25 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."
"I urge all Kentuckians to observe the speed limit, wear seat belts and refrain from driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol," says Jude. "These are very easy things to do and they may mean the difference between life and death."
KSP reminds motorists that Kentucky law requires them to slow down and use caution when they see a law enforcement or emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road with its lights flashing. They must move over to the lane farthest away from the vehicle if they are on a four-lane road with two lanes proceeding in the same direction and can do so safely.
Citizens can further 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).