November 16, 2011
Push for safety: Thanksgiving Traffic Enforcement Campaign targets impaired drivers, seat belt use on campus and across Kansas
The Kansas State University Police Department is joining in an effort the week of Nov. 21-27 to keep roadways, including those on campus, safer from impaired drivers.
The campus police department, along with many other police agencies across the state, including the Kansas Highway Patrol, will be participating in the Kansas Thanksgiving Traffic Enforcement Campaign. A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation is underwriting overtime traffic enforcement especially targeted at impaired drivers and vehicle occupants who are not properly restrained during the campaign.
"Surprisingly, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Wednesday through Sunday, commonly outranks all other holidays in its number of alcohol-related crashes," said Capt. Don Stubbings of the K-State Police Department. "Those driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs endanger not only themselves, but also their passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians."
On average across Kansas, six persons are killed or injured in alcohol-related crashes each day, according to the state Department of Transportation, which tracks all crashes in the state. Vehicle occupants in alcohol-related crashes are more than two and a half times more likely to be injured or killed than those involved in crashes where alcohol or other drugs were not a factor.
The transportation department also reports that more than 300 drivers in Kansas are arrested each week for driving under the influence. A DUI conviction will result in jail time, suspension or revocation of driver's license; a fine of $500 to $2,500; participation in an alcohol treatment program; possible vehicle impoundment; and installation of an ignition interlock device in that vehicle.
"Failure to simply take two seconds to buckle up is also responsible for needless death and injuries," Stubbings said.
Kansans who do not buckle up are about 12 times more likely to be killed and almost twice as likely to suffer injury as those who do buckle up, according to the Department of Transportation. Even worse is the fact that injuries suffered by those who are unbuckled are likely to be much more severe and disabling than those suffered by those who are restrained. This applies regardless of speeds and whether on city street, county road, or highway.
"At the Kansas State University Police Department, we value your safety and all others in our community. Please use designated drivers and buckle up," Stubbings said.