Harlan City Police join fight against speeding

Published 11:21 am Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Harlan City Police Department, along with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state, will be participating in a campaign against speeding from June 30 through July 13. The federally-funded “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine” campaign was launched by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) to “intensify the enforcement of speed violators, with an emphasis on roadways with a high number of speed-related crashes,” according to a press release from Frankfort.

According to KOHS Acting Executive Director Jason Siwula, speed limits are established by Kentucky statutes.

“These limits are put in place to protect all road users,” said Siwula. “Driving over the limit greatly reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around another vehicle, a hazardous object or an unexpected curve.”

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According to the KOHS, crash reports and citation data indicates more than 32 percent of crashes in Kentucky involve a speeding or aggressive driver.

“We frequently hear from officers and troopers that they would rather write a ticket than make a death notification,” said Siwula. “I assure you that the goal is not to write tickets, but to save lives.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 mph, and nearly five times as likely as a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 mph or below.

Harlan City Police Chief Winston Yeary said officers are working around the clock throughout the holiday to increase safety on roadways for drivers, stressing the importance of getting to Fourth of July celebrations safely.

“There are more officers working traffic detail, focusing on reducing hazardous driving, such as DUI and reckless driving — not just speeding,” Yeary said.

Yeary added the police department received a highway safety grant as part of the campaign.

Funds for the campaign were provided by NHTSA and distributed by KOHS to law enforcement agencies who applied and were approved for full-year grants. Each grantee was provided a map showing locations of speed-related crashes within their jurisdictions.

The Loyall Police Department is also participating in the campaign.