“The recent decrease in fatalities is what we’ve been hoping for, considering our numbers were up in May and most of June,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Joe Prather. “However, there is still work to be done. Over half of those killed were not wearing seat belts and 22 percent involved alcohol.”
In an effort to continue the decrease in fatalities and raise awareness of traffic safety laws, the KOHS is sponsoring the “Blue Lights Across the Bluegrass” campaign July 20 through July 31 in counties with four or more fatalities.
“By closely monitoring our fatality numbers, we’ve identified 37 counties as our target areas,” said Chuck Geveden, executive director of the Office of Highway Safety. “State and local law enforcement will be out in force, looking for anyone not obeying the laws of the road.”
While officers will patrol all roadways in their designated city or county, a special emphasis will be placed on the areas where the majority of fatalities have occurred.
“We hope our combined efforts will encourage everyone to wear a seat belt or helmet, drive the speed limit, and never drive impaired,” said Prather.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 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 in pickup truck, SUV and minivan occupants. Also according to NHTSA, regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect against and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.
“No matter what you drive – a car, truck or motorcycle – you must obey the law or you will be cited,” added Geveden.
There were 826 fatalities on Kentucky roadways in 2008, including 649 people in motor vehicles. Of those, 70 percent were not buckled up and over 20 percent involved alcohol.