Kentucky will be covered with ‘Blue Lights Across the Bluegrass'

FRANKFORT, Ky.  (July 1, 2010) – In an effort to continue the decrease in fatalities and raise awareness of traffic safety laws, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS), Kentucky State Police (KSP), and local law enforcement agencies have partnered together to sponsor the "Blue Lights Across the Bluegrass" campaign July 1 through Aug. 8.

Press conferences were held this week at the Woodford County and Shelby County rest areas to kick-off the campaign. In addition, the KOHS will be running radio commercials by NASCAR drivers Kenny Wallace and Brad Coleman throughout the summer months.

"People are hitting the road for summer vacations and upcoming Independence Day celebrations," said KOHS Executive Director Chuck Geveden.  "We want to make sure that all drivers are aware of their responsibilities behind the wheel."

So far this year, there have been a total of 340 highway fatalities, 49 fewer than at the same time last year.

"While we're pleased in the reduction of our fatality numbers, I believe everyone would agree that one death is too many," said Geveden.  "We hope our combined efforts with law enforcement will encourage everyone to wear a seat belt or helmet, drive the speed limit, and never drive impaired."

KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer said his agency will be out in full force supporting this enforcement effort with safety check points and saturation patrols.

"Unfortunately, too many people don't understand that alcohol, drugs and driving just don't mix," Brewer said. "Impaired driving is no accident, nor is it a victimless crime."

"Even first-time violators face immediate arrest, which can result in court costs, legal fees, higher auto insurance rates, fines, loss of license and even imprisonment," Brewer added. "The consequences are serious and real."

Wearing a seat belt is your best defense against injury and death.  Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that seat belts, when worn correctly, reduce the risk of fatalities by 45 percent for front-seat vehicle occupants, and by 60 percent for pickup truck, SUV and minivan occupants.

"No matter what you drive – a car, truck or motorcycle – you must obey the law or you will be cited," said Geveden. "No exceptions, no excuses." 

Of the 791 total fatalities in 2009, 649 were in motor vehicles. Of those killed, 61 percent were not buckled up and 20 percent of fatalities involved alcohol. Motorcyclists accounted for 80 fatalities. More than 60 percent of those killed were not wearing helmets and 19 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involved alcohol.