The Liberal 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, from Monday, November 19 through Sunday, November25. A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will underwrite overtime traffic enforcement that especially targets impaired drivers as well as vehicle occupants who are not properly restrained.
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Wednesday-Sunday) frequently outranks the other holidays in Kansas in number of driver impairment crashes. 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, five persons are killed or injured in alcohol-related crashes each day. According to KDOT, which tracks all crashes in the state, vehicle occupants in alcohol-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 300 drivers are arrested for DUI (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, and purchase and installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle which requires the driver to blow into a device that measures breath alcohol content prior to starting the car.
Failure to buckle up is also responsible for needless death and maiming. Twice as many Kansans who die from a crash are unrestrained as are restrained. 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. Be sure that children are properly restrained. Across Kansas, only 79% of 5-9 year olds are belted in to approved child safety seats or boosters. Even fewer 10-14 year olds are restrained. For advice on child safety seats, contact the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office at 1-800-416-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Captain Jon Antrim, “Keep in mind that if you are going to be drinking – any amount at all– don’t consider driving home. Arrange to ride with a designated driver. Don’t let pride or concerns for your convenience endanger your life and the lives of innocent others. Always wear your seatbelt and don’t move the vehicle until each person riding with you is buckled in. It is your best defense against death and injury; it’s their best defense; and it’s the law. You will live with the consequences – good or bad – the rest of your life. It is not uncommon 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, and certainly your cash. Let us catch you breaking the law and it will cost you!”