The Labor Day weekend is almost here, meaning folks will be out and about celebrating the last days of summer.
However, those taking part in these festivities are urged to be safe. For those who aren’t, the Kansas Highway Patrol will be watching.
The patrol will participate in the second Special Traffic Enforcement Program campaign of the year today through Monday, Sept. 1. STEP campaigns are enforcements, funded by KDOT, in which officers can work additional hours during high-travel holiday periods.
The patrol will be out actively looking for impaired drivers as part of the “You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.” campaign. Troopers will also be looking for those not wearing seatbelts or not using child safety seats; those texting; and any others violating Kansas laws.
“Troopers will be working extra during the last half of August and into Labor Day weekend,” said KHP Lt. Steve Billinger. “We are spending even more time than usual to detect and deter drinking and driving which also includes drug use and driving.”
During the 2013 Labor Day holiday weekend, there were 378 crashes statewide (worked by all Kansas law enforcement agencies). Five people were killed in these crashes, and 154 were injured.
Of the total crashes, 29 were alcohol-related. Two of the five fatal crashes were alcohol-related.
The reporting period was from 6 p.m. the Friday prior to the holiday, through 11:59 p.m. the Monday of Labor Day.
“I do believe we are making great progress locally on the DUI issue and through continued enforcement and the use of designated drivers and choices not to drive by citizens the roads are safer,” Billinger said. “Last year was one of the safest years on Kansas Roadways in history. The norm is changing.”
With many celebrations across the state, drivers should make sure they are designating a sober driver, said Lt. Joshua Kellerman, KHP spokesman. The Patrol would also like to remind motorists to wear their seatbelts and use the correctly fitted child safety seats, as they are the best defense should you be involved in a crash.
“We will continue to diligently patrol to continue this trend and keep the public safe,” Billinger said. “Please continue to be safe, report impaired drivers and by working together we will save tragedies from happening to Kansas families.”
“The Patrol wishes all of those traveling during the Labor Day holiday weekend safe travels,” Kellerman said. Anyone in need of assistance on a Kansas highwaycan call KHP at *47 (*HP) or *582 (*KTA) for the Kansas Turnpike.