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BCSO joins forces for the holidays
File photo

The Barton County Sheriff’s Office will join many other police agencies across the state, in the Kansas Thanksgiving Traffic Enforcement Campaign, from Monday, Nov. 23, through Sunday, Nov. 29.
A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation will underwrite overtime traffic enforcement that specifically targets impaired drivers and improperly and unrestrained vehicle occupants.
“In comparison with other holidays, the Thanksgiving holiday period (Wednesday-Sunday) outranks all but New Year’s in average number of crashes in which driver impairment is cited as a factor,” Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said. “Those driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs endanger not only themselves, but also others they share the road with – such as their passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.”
Bellendir also mentioned that on average, across Kansas, five persons are killed or injured in alcohol/drug-related crashes each day. And the crashes tend to be more severe.
According to KDOT, which tracks all crashes in the state, vehicle occupants in alcohol- or other drug-related crashes are over 2 ½ times more likely to be injured or killed than those involved in crashes where alcohol or other drugs were not a factor.
Each week across Kansas, over 250 drivers are arrested for driving under the influence. A DUI conviction will result in jail time, the suspension or revocation of driver’s license, a fine of $500 to $2,500, participation in an alcohol or other drug treatment program, and the purchase and installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle. This device requires the offender to blow into a device that measures blood alcohol concentration prior to starting the car.
“Also responsible for needless death and maiming is the failure by many to simply buckle up,’ Bellendir said. “Twice as many Kansans who die from a crash are unrestrained as are restrained.”
Even worse is the fact that injuries suffered by those who are unbuckled are likely to be much more severe and disabling than injuries suffered by those who are buckled in. This applies regardless of speed, and whether the occurrence is on city street, county road, or highway.
According to the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office notes that children should be properly restrained. Across Kansas, one in every five children, ages 5-9, routinely rides in a vehicle without benefit of a child safety seat or booster. A collision at almost any speed turns unrestrained occupants into human torpedoes who are a danger to themselves and anyone they impact. Needless to say, young children are especially vulnerable.
For information on child safety restraint requirements and options contact the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office at 1-800-416-2522 or
“Always wear your seatbelt and don’t move until each person riding with you is buckled in. This is your best defense against death and injury, it’s their best defense and it’s the law.” Bellendir said “You will live with the consequences – good or bad – the rest of your life. It is common for a belted driver to survive a crash relatively unscathed while an unbelted passenger is killed or seriously injured – perhaps for life. By always following these simple rules, you will preserve life – maybe even yours – and certainly your cash.”