Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
‘Safety First’ is Governor Fletcher's Message to Southeastern Kentucky

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, October 02, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

David Devers

Governor’s safety initiative has reduced Kentucky highway fatalities

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Governor Ernie Fletcher today delivered funding to 11 police and sheriff’s departments in southeastern Kentucky to assist with efforts to curb speeding and impaired driving and to promote seatbelt usage.

The funding, presented in a news conference at Somerset, is part of the Governor’s comprehensive traffic safety initiative, which has significantly reduced the number of fatalities on Kentucky highways.

“Safety on Kentucky’s roadways has always been one of my highest priorities,” said Governor Fletcher. “We are also steadfast in support of the efforts of law enforcement to prevent highway tragedies. We are here today to underscore our commitment to those priorities.”

The Governor presented $174,228 in grants to law enforcement agencies from seven counties – Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Leslie, Pulaski and Rockcastle.  The grants are federally funded but administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). The recipients:

  • Harlan County Sheriff’s Department – $10,000 for impaired driving programs.
  • Harlan Police Department – $10,000 for impaired driving programs.
  • Jackson County Sheriff’s Department – $4,000, occupant protection.
  • Laurel County Sheriff’s Department – $40,000, impaired driving.
  • London Police Department – $30,000, speed enforcement.
  • Hyden Police Department – $4,000, occupant protection.
  • Burnside Police Department – $12,000 speed enforcement.
  • Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department – $22,678, impaired driving.
  • Somerset Police Department – $14,000 speed enforcement.
  • Rockcastle County Sheriff’s Department – $15,000, speed enforcement
  • Barbourville Police Department – $12,550, speed enforcement

Kentucky fatalities totaled 913 in 2006, a five-year low and 72 fewer than the toll taken by traffic accidents in 2005. It was the first decline in a yearly total since 1999. Fatalities thus far in 2007 number about 30 fewer than at the same point in 2006, and the Governor has set a goal of 700 or fewer fatalities by December 2008.

The Governor’s initiative includes addition of median cable barriers and other safety devices on roadways, passage of effective traffic laws and support for enforcement of those laws.

“Fostering strong partnerships is the best approach to saving lives all across the commonwealth,” said Governor Fletcher. “We are constantly looking for new ways to provide local law enforcement and other agencies with the tools they need to save lives on our highways.”

The event today also featured the rollout of one of the new trucks of the SAFE Patrol (Safety Assistance for Freeway Emergencies), which KYTC launched in October 2004. At first, six vans patrolled a limited area of heavily traveled interstate highways. SAFE Patrol operators now cover all Kentucky interstates and parkways, providing free assistance to stranded or injured travelers.

For information on SAFE Patrol services visit