Motorists warned: If you’re over the limit, you’ll be under arrest
Campaign against drunken driving runs through Labor Day
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 26, 2010) — The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is joining law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation to take part in the “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest” crackdown on impaired driving.
KOHS officials, along with the Lexington Division of Police and former University of Kentucky head football coach Rich Brooks, promoted the campaign during a news conference today at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington. The campaign began Aug. 20 and runs through Labor Day.
“All too often, we see innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of loved ones due to this careless disregard for human life,” said KOHS Executive Director Chuck Geveden. “That is why law enforcement officers throughout the state are working to keep drunken drivers off the road.”
Drunken driving is one of America’s deadliest crimes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008 alone, nearly 12,000 people were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Also according to NHTSA, young people age 21 to 24 account for the highest percentage of impaired drivers in fatal crashes.
Brooks frequently speaks to young people about the responsibility that comes with the freedom to make choices in life, and warns of the negative consequences that could follow.
“Even if you beat the odds and walk away from a drunken driving crash, violators often face jail time, loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, lost work time and other expenses,” said Brooks. “The greatest risk, however, is taking someone’s life.”
Last year, Kentucky recorded over 5,400 alcohol-related crashes, resulting in 203 deaths and over 2,600 injuries. Fayette County ranked No. 2, with 475 such collisions, which caused 208 injuries and six fatalities.
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Police Cmdr. Michael Blanton said enforcement officers are out in force during this holiday period. “We’ll be out day and night, but with a special emphasis during the high-risk nighttime hours, when impaired drivers are most likely to be on our roads,” Blanton said. “We will be watching, and if you are driving impaired, I guarantee you will be arrested.”
During the 2009 Labor Day holiday weekend, 10 people were killed and over 340 were injured on Kentucky roadways. Six of those deaths involved alcohol.
Brooks warned everyone to think before getting behind the wheel. “A BAC of 0.08 is the legal limit, but that doesn’t mean you can safely drive at 0.07,” said Brooks. “Impairment begins as soon as you take that first drink, affecting your reaction time and ability to think clearly.”
Geveden encouraged motorists to take a simple precaution to help prevent injury or death.
“Wearing a seat belt is not only the law in Kentucky, but it is your best defense against an impaired driver,” said Geveden.
Driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher is illegal in every state. All states also have zero tolerance laws, which means it is illegal for anyone under 21 to drive after drinking any amount of alcohol.
The national crackdown, led by NHTSA, combines high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.
“The message is clear and simple,” said Blanton. “If you are over the limit, you will be under arrest.”