A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lexington Police Department joins national crackdown to reduce impaired driving fatalities

If you choose to drink and drive in Lexington – beware. The Lexington Police Department is joining law enforcement throughout the nation for the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, Aug. 19-Sept. 5.

The strong nationwide impaired driving crackdown will include high-visibility enforcement, high-profile events, and will be supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb impaired driving.

“We aggressively watch for impaired drivers year-round,” said Sgt. Randall Combs. “But by joining this effort, we will make Lexington’s roadways safer for everyone during the heavily-traveled Labor Day holiday.”

police car

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on average, there is one alcohol impaired driving-related fatality every 51 minutes across America. High-visibility enforcement such as the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign reduces alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.

In Kentucky in 2015, there were 761 driving-related fatalities, 89 more than 2014. Of the 761 fatalities last year, 388 were not buckled up and 143 of those fatalities involved alcohol. During the 2015 Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, law enforcement officers made more than 1,400 drugged and drunken driving arrests from Aug. 19 through Sept. 7.

“We hope the campaign will serve as a reminder that those who choose to drink should never get behind the wheel,” Sgt. Combs said. “But if someone does choose to drive while drunk, we will arrest them. No warnings. No excuses.”

In 2015, the Kentucky legislature passed Senate Bill 133, requiring repeat DUI offenders to blow into an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The vehicle will not start if the person’s blood-alcohol concentration exceeds a 0.02 level.
First-time DUI offenders are not required to have the device installed unless there is an aggravating circumstance, such as speeding or driving drunk with a child in the car.

Adding one more tool to combat drinking and driving, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety partnered with Mobile Life Solutions last year to develop a free “Drive Sober Kentucky” application that may be downloaded at www.DriveSoberKY.com.

The app contains phone numbers to taxi and limousine services and sober ride programs, along with a one-touch dial feature to report a drunken driver and information about the designated driver HERO campaign. If a local taxi, limousine or sober ride program would like to participate but is not included in the app, send contact information to info@driversoberky.com.

“Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk, so don’t take the chance,” Sgt. Combs said. “Remember, we will be out in force, so ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.’”

For more information, visit the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign Headquarters at www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober.

From Lexington Police Dept. Communications

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