KOHS, law enforcement warn motorists: Drive sober or get pulled over
Campaign against drunken driving runs through Labor Day
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 18, 2011) — The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) and Louisville Metro Police Department will join nearly 10,000 law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation, Aug. 19 through Labor Day, to take part in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown on impaired driving. The campaign was announced today during a news conference at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville.
“Highway safety has always been a high priority of this administration,” said KOHS Acting Director Bill Bell. “We fully support this campaign and the law enforcement officers throughout the state working to keep drunk drivers off the road.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of alcohol-related fatalities in American fell from 2008 to 2009, but the numbers are still too high. In 2009 alone, nearly 11,000 people were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
“A BAC of 0.08 is the legal limit, but that doesn’t mean you can safely drive at 0.07,” said Bell. “Impairment begins as soon as you take that first drink, affecting your reaction time and ability to think clearly.”
Last year, Kentucky recorded over 4,700 alcohol-related crashes, resulting in 139 deaths and more than 2,400 injuries. Jefferson County ranked No. 1, with 914 such collisions, causing 480 injuries and 15 fatalities.
Sgt. Mike Minniear, of the Louisville Metro Police Department, said officers will be out in force during this holiday period. “Our message is simple,” Minniear said. “If we find you driving while drunk, you will be arrested – regardless of age, vehicle type or time of day.”
During the 2010 Labor Day holiday weekend, eight people were killed and 325 were injured on Kentucky roadways. Two of those deaths involved alcohol.
Minniear warned of the consequences of driving while impaired. “Even if you beat the odds and walk away from a drunken driving crash, the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest can destroy your life,” Minniear said. “The greatest risk, however, is destroying the life of someone else.”
Bell 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 a drunk driver,” said Bell.
The federally-funded national crackdown, led by NHTSA, combines high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.