Â·Be extra cautious around large trucks. They have large "blind spots" and much longer stopping distances than passenger cars.
"Please do your part to be safe," says Adams. "Remember, three out of four crashes happen within 25 miles of home at speeds of 45 miles per hour or less. About 40 percent of all fatal crashes occur on roads where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or less."
Citizens can further contribute to highway safety during the holiday period by reporting erratic drivers to the KSP toll-free hotline at 1-800-222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.
"The Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the beginning of the summer driving season," says Kentucky State Police Commissioner Jack Adams. "Traffic on the state's roadways is expected to increase significantly during this time period."
"Last year, there were 851 crashes in Kentucky during the Memorial Day weekend," notes Adams. "Sixteen people lost their lives and 324 were injured. Many of these fatalities and injuries might have been avoided if the drivers had slowed down, buckled up and avoided the use of drugs and alcohol."
"As of May 20, a total of 310 people have lost their lives on Kentucky's roadways in 2007," says KSP Capt. Tim Lucas, commander of the Governor's Highway Safety Program. "Of the 264 motor vehicle fatalities, 156 were not wearing seat belts and 78 were the result of crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol."
Lucas points out that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), using a seat belt is the single most effective action you can take to protect yourself in a vehicle crash. Seat belt use reduces the risk of sustaining a fatal injury by 45 percent in a car and 60 percent in a light truck. It also reports that 60 percent of passengers killed in traffic crashes are not wearing seat belts.
Lucas also reminds motorists that Kentucky has a zero tolerance policy regarding driving while impaired by alcohol. "Although driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 is illegal, you can also be arrested for lower levels if you are under 21 years of age or operating a commercial vehicle," he explains. "If you are going to drive, it's best not to consume any alcohol at all."