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Area police are bolstering efforts to enforce traffic laws during the holiday season, which marks a peak time of year for collisions and impaired driving.
Beginning in November, Kentucky State Police launched a six-month enforcement campaign called “Operation R.A.I.D.,” which stands for Remove Aggressive, Impaired and Distracted drivers, according to a news release.
Developed by KSP commanders across the state, the operation’s goal is to target driving behaviors that cause the most crashes in Kentucky and allows each post to identify focus areas, according to the release.
KSP Post 4 spokesman Norman Chaffins said the Elizabethtown post, which covers eight counties, primarily will focus on Interstate 65, Western Kentucky Parkway and Bluegrass Parkway.
Enforcement efforts include traffic safety checkpoints, saturated patrols and use of unmarked police vehicles, Chaffins said.
This time of year, he said, police see a lot of speeding and distracted driving, especially from commuters who grow complacent on a straight roadway like I-65.
Police hope their visibility encourages commuters to drive defensively rather than aggressively, Chaffins said.
“If we’re seen on the interstate and parkways, it will deter a lot of that,” he said.
Also during the holiday season, city agencies will increase patrol hours to run extra traffic enforcement.
“We’re out there not to hassle but to make sure people practice safe driving,” said Bryce Shumate, spokesman for Radcliff Police Department.
This time of year, more drivers are on the roadway, Shumate said, and whether they’re shopping or traveling, drivers also seem to be in more of a hurry during the holiday season.
The combination leads to more crashes and more speeding tickets, he said.
During the holiday season, county and city law enforcement will be on the lookout for impaired drivers.
Greg Lowe, spokesman for Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, said the number of drunken and drugged drivers often increases around this time of year, particularly on New Year’s Eve.
According to an Elizabethtown Police Department news release, a national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign launches Dec. 12 and runs through New Year’s Day.
“Lots of folks will be out during this busy holiday season, enjoying themselves and the holiday festivities, and we want everyone to be safe on our roadways.” said Maj. Troy Dye of EPD. “That’s why we will be stepping up enforcement to catch and arrest impaired drivers. Please be forewarned. If you are caught drinking and driving impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.”
Elizabethtown police advise those who intend to drink to plan ahead by designating a sober driver or finding another way home.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or email@example.com.
BY THE NUMBERS
As of Monday, 657 people have died in collisions on Kentucky roadways in 2012, which is eight less reported during the same time period last year.
Of those fatalities, 286 were not wearing seatbelts.
244 were between the ages of 25 to 44.
119 involved alcohol use.
116 have occurred in the Kentucky State Police Post 4 area.
71 were motorcyclists of whom 37 were not wearing helmets.
55 involved commercial vehicles.
32 were under the age of 16.
Source: Kentucky Office of Highway Safety