A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’: Make smart choices over the holiday, as law enforcement is watching


This Labor Day weekend, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and law enforcement across the nation in reminding drivers to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

“It’s been a tough year for all Kentuckians and I want us to have a great Labor Day Weekend,” said Gov. Beshear. “But to keep each other safe, I’ve got to ask you two things. First, please celebrate safely – follow precautions at bars, restaurants and tourist attractions and limit social gatherings to ten people or fewer. Second, please get home safely. Drive sober or plan a ride with someone who is to protect yourself and everyone on the road.”

While law enforcement officers patrol for impaired drivers year-round, NHTSA says impaired driving-related crashes tend to increase during the Labor Day holiday period.

“If you are under the influence of any substance and choose to get behind the wheel, you put everyone on the road in danger, including yourself,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “No matter the occasion, always plan for a designated driver.”

There were more than 4,700 total collisions involving an impaired driver in Kentucky last year, resulting in more than 2,200 injuries and 138 deaths.  During the Labor Day holiday weekend, there were 56 crashes involving an impaired driver, resulting in 30 injuries and two deaths.

“Impaired driving is 100 percent preventable,” said KYTC Office of Highway Safety Acting Executive Director Jason Siwula. “Drivers must understand that drugs and/or alcohol not only hinder your ability to drive, but also affect your judgment about whether you can or should drive. You may think you’re fine, but impairment slows judgment, coordination and reaction times.”

According to NHTSA, impaired driving fatalities typically spike during holidays. To prevent such tragedies, the KYTC recommends the following: 
          
• Before festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night;

• If impaired, use a ride-booking company or taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely;

• If you see an impaired driver, safely pull over and contact law enforcement. You may dial the KSP toll-free line directly at 1-800-222-5555 or call 911.

• If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get them safely to where they are going.

• Wear a seat belt! It is not only the law, it is the best defense against an impaired driver. Buckling up helps prevent injury and death if involved in a crash.

“We want all Kentuckians to enjoy the upcoming Labor Day holiday,” said Siwula. “All we ask is that you make smart choices and celebrate responsibly.”

For more information on drunken driving click here. For more information on drug-impaired driving click here.


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