FRANKFORT - Kentucky State Police report that aggressive driving, failure to use seat belts and driving while impaired are the top three dangers faced by motorists on Kentucky highways during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Accordingly, the law enforcement agency plans to intensify its traffic safety and patrol efforts beginning at 6 p.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Memorial Day.
"The Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the beginning of the summer driving season," KSP spokesman Lt. David Jude said in a press release. "Traffic on the state roadways is expected to increase significantly during this time period."
"Last year, there were 1,238 crashes in Kentucky during the Memorial Day weekend," Jude said. "Eight people lost their lives and 432 were injured. Many of these deaths and injuries might have been avoided if the drivers had slowed down, buckled up and avoided the use of drugs and alcohol."
"As of May 25, a total of 233 people have lost their lives on Kentucky's roadways in 2011," Jude said. "Of the 173 motor vehicle deaths, 156 were not wearing seat belts and 33 were the result of crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol."
Jude reminds motorists that Kentucky has a zero tolerance policy regarding driving while impaired by alcohol. "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," he said. "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," Jude said.
As part of the "Click It Or Ticket" campaign, which started May 23 and continues through June 5, state troopers will be working overtime during the Memorial Day holiday. Operations will include increased saturation patrols and traffic safety checkpoints in high crash, high traffic locations, radar and laser details and coordinated enforcement activities with local police and sheriff's departments for maximum coverage.
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 contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Kentucky State Police toll-free at 1-800-222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.