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KYTC works to combat impaired driving for Labor Day weekend

From the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

This Labor Day weekend, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and law enforcement across the nation in reminding drivers to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

“It’s been a tough year for all Kentuckians and I want us to have a great Labor Day weekend,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “But to keep each other safe, I’ve got to ask you two things. First, please celebrate safely. Follow precautions at bars, restaurants and tourist attractions and limit social gatherings to ten people or fewer. Second, please get home safely. Drive sober or plan a ride with someone who is to protect yourself and everyone on the road.”

While law enforcement officers patrol for impaired drivers year-round, according to the NHTSA, impaired driving-related crashes tend to increase during the Labor Day holiday period.

“If you are under the influence of any substance and choose to get behind the wheel, you put everyone on the road in danger, including yourself,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. “No matter the occasion, always plan for a designated driver.”

There were more than 4,700 total collisions involving an impaired driver in Kentucky last year, resulting in more than 2,200 injuries and 138 deaths. During the Labor Day holiday weekend, there were 56 crashes involving an impaired driver, resulting in 30 injuries and two deaths.

“Impaired driving is 100 percent preventable,” KYTC Office of Highway Safety Acting Executive Director Jason Siwula said. “Drivers must understand that drugs and/or alcohol not only hinder your ability to drive, but also affect your judgment about whether you can or should drive. You may think you’re fine, but impairment slows judgment, coordination and reaction times.”

According to NHTSA, impaired driving fatalities typically spike during holidays. To prevent such tragedies, the KYTC recommends the following:

— Before festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night;

— If impaired, use a ride-booking company or taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely;

— If you see an impaired driver, safely pull over and contact law enforcement. You may dial the KSP toll-free line directly at 800-222-5555 or call 911.

— If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get them safely to where they are going.

— Wear a seat belt. It is not only the law, it is the best defense against an impaired driver. Buckling up helps prevent injury and death if involved in a crash.

“We want all Kentuckians to enjoy the upcoming Labor Day holiday,” Siwula said. “All we ask is that you make smart choices and celebrate responsibly.”

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