The Richmond Register

December 28, 2013

With traffic deaths at 66-year low, KSP urges drivers to ‛finish strong’

Enforcement efforts stepped up

Register Staff Report

RICHMOND — The Kentucky State Police are gearing up for the New Years Eve holiday, which is traditionally a time for festive events where people gather to ring in a new year.

Many of these celebrations include the consumption of alcohol, lending way to the potential for impaired drivers on Kentucky roadways, a KSP news released noted.

Since the Thanksgiving holiday, the KSP has been actively implementing a “Operation Holiday Lights” enforcement effort that includes nighttime seat-belt enforcement and impaired-driving crack downs, the release added.

Trooper Paul Blanton, KSP spokesperson, said the agency will utilize all resources available in an effort to reduce loss of life on Kentucky roadways.

“Kentucky is at the lowest number of highway fatalities since 1947,” says Blanton. “A part of that number is due to enforcement and education efforts about traffic safety. The other part is credited to the vigilance of motorists who wear seat belts, reduce their driving speed and utilize designated driver programs.”

As of Dec. 26, there have been 628 traffic deaths on Kentucky roadways. Although that number is by no means small, it represents 116 fewer traffic deaths than in 2012.

“We are asking motorists to ‘finish strong’ when it comes to their driving behavior,” Blanton said. “More drivers in Kentucky are making wise choices when it comes to traffic safety, and we encourage them to remain vigilant with these practices.”

Blanton urges friends and family members to take the keys away from anyone who consumes alcohol and arrange for them to be driven home.

“We know there are going to be holiday celebrations this time of year where alcohol will be consumed, so your best bet is to always designate a sober driver before the parties begin,” says Blanton.

The national New Years Eve holiday enforcement period begins 6 p.m. Monday and extends through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

“Make no mistake, our message is simple. If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested. We will be out in force to take drunk drivers off the road — and save lives that might otherwise be lost,” Blanton added.

KSP has established a toll-free number (1-800-222-5555) that citizens can call to report impaired or erratic drivers.