Police Watching for Drunk or Distracted Driving
By WestKyStar Staff
PADUCAH, KY - If you see more law enforcement on the roads between now and Labor Day, there's a reason.
As part of a national campaign called “ Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”, police departments statewide will conduct increased patrols and road checks from August 17th until September 3rd at locations where accidents have previously happened, and other heavy traffic areas.
Captain Don Hodgson of the Paducah Police Department said the campaign will raise awareness of drunk driving and its risks, and will increase the likelihood of getting caught. Hodgson said another driving hazard will be spotlighted in Paducah, too.
"The Paducah Police Department's also going to adopt some new enforcement efforts for distracted driving. As you know, distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of wrecks in the city," Hodgson said.
He says officers want drivers to recognize the various ways they are distracted, including conversation, sightseeing, reading, applying make-up, eating, and using smart phones.
"We're doing everything but driving. If you're arguing with your wife or talking on your cell phone, you're just as distracted, and we want people to pay all their attention to driving, and watching what they're doing on the roadway," Hodgson told Greg Dunker on WKYX.
Hodgson wonders what would have become of the automobile 100 years ago if Henry Ford and his contemporaries had known that 40,000 people would die annually in traffic accidents. He says that while 13 Kentucky traffic deaths over the 2011 Labor Day weekend seems like a small number, when you consider family and friends that are affected, the impact is much greater.
Hodgson adds that the goal is to reduce the number of accidents, and if it takes more patrols and citations during campaigns like this to change behavior, it's worth it.
The number of DUI arrests in Cadiz has increased slightly from last year but still remain below the five-year average for the city. Despite the numbers showing a 28-percent decline over the past five years, impaired driving remains one of the top factors in vehicle fatalities in Trigg County.
“We want to get the message out there that if you plan on drinking, you better not get behind the wheel and drive,” said CPD Chief Hollis Alexander. We have also seen an increase in DUIs caused by the overuse of prescription medication and other drugs. We will work to get these people off our roadways.”
“We have a large amount of traffic for a small community, and we will use this enforcement campaign to focus on all unsafe drivers, especially in our neighborhoods and business district,” Chief Alexander said.
Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Byars said, “ We are proud to partner with the Kentucky State Police as well as Benton and Calvert City Police Departments in reducing traffic crashes in Marshall County.”
Traffic safety checkpoint locations in Marshall County include, but are not limited to: US 62, US 68 West, US 68 East, US 641, KY 80, KY 402, KY 58, KY 1824, KY 408.