KSP begins latest effort to reduce traffic fatalities
by Cris Ritchie Editor
HAZARD Since the inception of the primary seat belt law in 2006, the number of fatal traffic collisions in Kentucky has declined each year. State officials say they want that number to continue to decline, and their latest traffic enforcement campaign aims to do just that.
Called Operation K.S.P, the campaign kicked off this month and will extend through early September. Officials will be seeking to lower the number of fatalities resulting from traffic collisions by focusing on driver safety, enforcement and education.
During that same time period of June through September in 2008, there were nine fatal collisions in the Post 13 area, and authorities will be looking to dramatically lower that number, said Capt. Scott Miller with the State Police Post in Hazard.
Our goal is to have targeted enforcement that reduces the number of fatal collisions we have in the post area during this time period, he said. Right now were at zero (fatalities) and we want to keep it at zero.
Police will be conducting several road checks throughout the state during the campaign period, with hopes of conducting 1,000 checks in total. To help increase the effectiveness of the road checks, Miller said police will concentrate on particular areas where the number of collisions have been high in the past.
Well be doing road checks and targeted enforcement in small areas related to where the high crashes are occurring, where the DUIs are driving, where the people that are not wearing their seat belt are, where a lot of collisions are occurring, he said. Thats where were going to concentrate our efforts throughout the summer and throughout the year.
Another area of concentration will be distracted driving, including texting while driving which the Kentucky General Assembly noted as a violation of the law earlier this year.
We want to be proactive on inattention and focusing on people that are not paying attention to the road, he said. The least little second that youre not paying attention can result in a life changing event.
Police will also be concentrating on other aspects of driver safety, such as seat belt usage. Capt. Miller noted that since the primary seat belt law was approved in 2006 that seat belt usage has improved, but is still well under the national average.
While police will be taking a proactive approach in the coming weeks, Miller noted that safe driving begins with the driver, and in as much education will also be a key component in the campaign. During traffic stops or road checks, troopers will be handing out pamphlets with information on safe driving in an attempt to reenforce the idea of staying focused.
We want to educate people ... on the importance of not being distracted while youre driving, being well rested (and) not using drugs or alcohol, he said. Were going to be having a number of educational programs throughout the summer, and wed like to extend that offer to any organization that wants us to do a presentation or anything like that.
And like the recent Click It or Ticket campaign completed earlier this month, local law enforcement will also be playing a role in this latest effort as well.
Were going to be utilizing local law enforcement, in fact Hazard PD helped on the last [enforcement campaign] quite a bit, said Miller. Its essential our local law enforcement get on board and that they know the importance of getting the word out and try to save peoples lives.
Operation KSP began on June 1 throughout Kentucky and will end on September 6.
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