Sober driving is priority

By Karissa Blackburn - [email protected]

PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Many local law enforcement agencies are asking citizens to be extra careful during vehicular travel during the holiday seasons.

Just last week, the Kentucky State Police requested a unique Christmas gift from Kentuckians: wear your seat belts every time you get in a vehicle.

Sgt. Michael Webb, spokesperson for the agency, says wearing a seat belt can and will save lives.

“We are seeing an increase in traffic deaths in Kentucky this year and several of those tragedies could have been avoided if the motorist would have been wearing a seat belt,” says Webb.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45 percent, opposed to those who don’t wear them.

Law enforcement are also running campaigns to remind citizens of the importance of sobriety behind the wheel.

The minimum Blood Alcohol Content level to be considered DUI in Kentucky is .02 percent for drivers under 21 years of age, and .08 percent for drivers 21 or older.

The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety has created an easy to use, free mobile application to help keep anyone who has been drinking from getting behind the wheel. With a simple push of a button on your smartphone, you can find a sober ride home and keep our roads safe.

First offense DUI can cost more than $10,000. Jail time is pertinent, offenders could lose their jobs, and a higher insurance premium could be required after such and offense. The app can be found on the Apple and Google Play app stores by searching Drive Sober KY.

KSP also has a toll-free number (1-800-222-5555) that citizens can call to confidentially report impaired or erratic drivers. They can also download the free KSP mobile phone app. The app provides quick, direct access to the state police for a wide range of benefits including weather, road and traffic information as well as text, voice and photo tip capabilities to report criminal behavior. The app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android applications and can be easily downloaded free of charge through Apple and Google Play stores.

Webb says it is heart-wrenching for troopers who have to notify families that their loved one has been killed in a crash.

“It’s twice as hard when you know the death could have been prevented,” adds Webb. “It’s a proven fact that people have a better chance of surviving a crash when they are wearing their seat belts.”

Webb says the agency will utilize all resources available during the holiday season in an effort to reduce loss of life on Kentucky roadways. This will include traffic safety checkpoints, saturation patrols in high crash, high traffic locations, radar and laser details and coordinated enforcement activities with local police and sheriffs departments for maximum coverage.

As of December 21, 2015, there have been 712 traffic deaths on Kentucky roadways this year. That is 72 more traffic deaths than reported in 2014 during the same reporting period.

By Karissa Blackburn

[email protected]

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