By Portia Williams
ASHLAND, Ky. — As a precautionary measure, the posts of the Kentucky State Police (KSP) will participate in the national campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over (DSGPO), which runs through Labor Day weekend and is aimed at reducing deaths and injuries caused by motorists driving drunk or impaired by drugs.
According to KSP, During the 2014 Labor Day holiday, there were six alcohol-related highway deaths on Kentucky roadways. Statewide, law enforcement officers arrested 55 people for DUI during that same time period. The 2015 Labor Day enforcement period begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept.4 and extends through Monday, Sept. 7 at 11:59 p.m.
KSP Operations Director Lt. Col. Mike Crawford encourages families to enjoy the holiday while also taking precautions to protect the safety of everyone.
“We know there are going to be family celebrations during Labor Day where alcohol will be present, so your best bet is to always designate a sober driver before the parties begin,” Crawford said. Make no mistake, our message is simple. If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested. We will be out in force to take drunk drivers off the road – and save lives that might otherwise be lost.”
In addition to statewide DUI enforcement, KSP will conduct statewide traffic safety checkpoints in an effort to enforce all traffic laws of the Commonwealth. Special attention will be paid to occupant protection (seatbelt adherence), vehicle safety, insurance compliance and registration violations.
Trooper Michael Murriell of KSP Post 14 in Ashland, Ky., said their post will be actively participating in the DSGPO Campaign.
“This weekend we will be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign. It runs from 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 through Monday, Sept. 7 at 11:59 p.m.,” Murriell said. “We are going to be concentrating on any violations that we encounter, but we are focusing on any impaired drivers. In 2014 we had six alcohol-related deaths that occurred during the Labor holiday weekend, and we want to do everything that we are capable of doing to reduce that number. Those are six deaths that should not, and did not need to occur, but because bad choices were made it happened.
Murriell also said safety check points will be conducted in the KSP Post 14 areas.
“During this time period we are going to be in all of the Post areas, which is Boyd, Carter, Lawrence, and Greenup counties,” Murriell said. “We will be conducting saturation patrols in high traffic areas. And also, we will have safety check points that will be conducted at approved locations at various times throughout the holiday weekend. We are going to focus on life-saving citations, those driving at excessive rates of speed, not wearing seat belts, vehicles with children that are not being properly restrained in car seats or booster seats, and any other violations that we encounter.”
Murriell said it is all about safety for the public.
“Our main goal is, we want people to have a good weekend, and we know that people are spending time with family, and we encourage that. If you are going to be at functions where there will be drinking, we would hope that you would use good common sense, and designate a driver. This could save your life or someone else’s,” he said. “So, we want everyone to have a good time, but we want people to be safe at the same time.”
According to KSP, citizens are encouraged to download the new KSP mobile app that allows individuals to report criminal activity confidentially or utilize the KSP toll-free number (1-800-222-5555) to report impaired or erratic drivers. The mobile app is available in both the Apple and Google Play stores free of charge, and is titled ‘KSPOLICE.’
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.