DUI patrol will be out in full force this weekend

July 02, 2004|HERB BROCK

If you want to have a good time during the Fourth of July weekend, don't have too much of a good time.

That's the word from both Danville Police Department and the Kentucky State Police as both law enforcement agencies plan to be on the lookout for impaired drivers this holiday weekend, which begins at 6 p.m. today and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday.

"We will have our DUI enforcement patrol out in full force over the weekend," Danville Assistant Police Jay Newell said today. "Overall, we will have increased traffic enforcement all over the community and will be keeping an eye on impaired driving."

Local police also will be focusing on traffic patrol on Saturday night during the community fireworks show. The experience will be a dud for those trying to grab a certain special spot from which to view the show, said Newell.


"We're going to be patrolling in the Millennium Park and Boyle County Fairgrounds vicinity, particularly along the bypass and Perryville," he said. "People won't be allowed to park on the shoulders of the roads to watch the fireworks. Anyone we see parked on the shoulders will be asked to move. We'll also be doing traffic control to make sure traffic flow is as smoothly as possible."

The state police also will be extending traffic enforcement and impaired driving patrols during the weekend. The bulk of the agency's 986 troopers will be deployed throughout the state to conduct saturation patrols and traffic safety checkpoints in high-crash, high-traffic locations. For maximum coverage, troopers will be coordinating their activities with local police.

"Unfortunately, impaired driving tends to increase during the holiday periods," said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Mark L. Miller in a press release issued Monday by the agency. "It continues to be the most frequently committed violent crime in the U.S.

"Kentucky has a zero tolerance policy regarding driving while impaired by alcohol," said Miller. "Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more will result in an immediate arrest even for first-time offenders."

Five people were killed in crashes during last year's Fourth of July holiday

During the Fourth of July holiday period last year five people lost their lives in five different crashes with the majority involving alcohol, Miller said. As of June 30 there had been 437 fatalities and 20,557 injuries in accidents on Kentucky roads during 2004, he said.

In addition to looking out for impaired driving, state police also will be checking to see if motorists and their passengers are wearing seat belts and small children are in child safety restraint seats that meet federal standards, according to state police Capt. Lisa Rudzinski, commander of the Governor's Highway Safety Program.

"Defensive driving begins with buckling your seat belt and making sure your passengers are wearing theirs and that all children 40 inches in height or less are buckled into child safety restraint seats," Rudzinski said.

She said that failure to wear a seat belt is a secondary violation of the state's seat belt law. A citation may be issued only if a motorist is stopped for reasons other than violating the seat belt law, she said.

Motorists who fail to have children 40 inches of height or less in approved child safety restraint seats are subject to a $50 fine with an additional $10 fine to be donated to the Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund, said Rudzinski.

She said Kentucky law makes the driver responsible for making sure that all passengers are properly restrained; a violator is subject to a fine not to exceed $25.

Rudzinski offered these suggestions for safe driving during the holiday weekend and the rest of the year:

* Refrain from tailgating, passing on shoulders, changing lanes without signaling and other "aggressive driving behaviors."

* Drive particularly carefully in construction zones, observing the orange warning signs and posted speed limits and looking out for sudden stops by construction vehicles and watching out for construction workers.

* Be attentive to vehicles being driven by people on cell phones or dealing with children.

* Report any erratic drivers to the state police by calling 800-222-5555.

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