Area hit by rash of holiday auto accidents

November 30, 2003|EMILY BURTON

More than 20 traffic accidents in Boyle, Casey, Lincoln and Garrard counties were reported Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day. Many of those, officials said, could have been avoided if drivers had slowed down and paid attention to the road.

In Danville, there were 12 wrecks during the two-day period, and by 3 p.m. Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, local dispatchers had reported several fender-benders.

"The biggest part of it is people just not paying attention," said LeeRoy Hardin, Boyle County Sheriff.

He said deputies worked "a few" accidents this holiday weekend, and he recommended drivers "slow down" when traveling to and from holiday festivities.

By Nov. 21, there were 820 traffic fatalities in Kentucky, and nearly half of those who died were not wearing their seatbelts.


Lincoln County Coroner Bill Demrow said that in his experience with fatal accidents, the benefits of wearing a seat belt far outweighed not buckling up. One benefit, Demrow said, is that drivers can walk away from an accident with bruises rather than be transported to the hospital with a concussion, or worse.

"Without the proper restraint, you are just a flying object in the car," said Demrow. "Often, they can fly through the windshield. I would much rather see injuries from the seatbelt rather than not."

KSP is also concerned with people wearing seatbelts. Sunday evening marks the end of a 18-day campaign, "Buckle up - It's the Law and It's Enforced". Anyone caught not wearing a seatbelt, or with children not in proper restraints, were fined.

Seatbelt use becomes more important as road conditions deteriorate with rain and snow. As with the road conditions on Thanksgiving Day and Saturday, slippery surfaces was the top environmental factor in fatal accidents this year.

The top human factors cited in accident reports include failure to keep the vehicle under proper control and alcohol use. Through Nov. 1, 6,481 accidents have been caused by drugs or alcohol, leaving 2,852 people dead or injured, according to KSP.

Anyone may report a drunken driver to KSP on its D.U.I. hotline, 1-800-222-5555.

While no one likes to be pulled over during the holidays, police say they are doing their part to see everyone arrive to their destinations safely.

In Boyle County, the sheriff's office has a similar wish this travel season, for "everybody to have a safe and happy holidays," said Hardin.

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