Officials trying to keep roadways safe on Halloween

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - State and federal highway safety officials are joining together to warn drivers to drive safely this Halloween.


The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, this year to remind drivers that “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.”


Gov. Andy Beshear says 2020 has been a tough year for all Kentuckians but urges everyone to remain vigilant and to continue making responsible choices to keep each other safe.


“Halloween falls on a weekend so there’s potential for indoor gatherings to peak,” he stated. “I want to encourage Kentuckians to celebrate safely by following health guidelines and making plans for a sober ride home if you plan to drink. A few preventive measures can mean the difference between life and death.”


According to the NHTSA, between 2014 and 2018, 41 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night were due to crashes involving a drunk driver. Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage of deaths, at 39%, in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2018.


Transportation Secretary Jim Gray echoed the governor’s sentiments. “We all share the road and can make it safer for everyone by practicing safe behaviors like buckling up, putting the phone down and driving sober to help prevent crashes, injuries and deaths on Kentucky roadways.”


There were more than 4,700 total collisions involving an impaired driver in Kentucky last year, resulting in more than 2,200 injuries and 138 deaths, and Transportation Cabinet State Highway Engineer James Ballinger said these are 100% preventable.


“If you are under the influence of any substance and choose to get behind the wheel, you put everyone on the road in danger, including yourself,” Ballinger said. “Even one drink can impair judgment, so we’re simply asking partygoers to plan their sober ride home in advance before decision-making abilities are affected.”


Safety officials say to follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:

--It is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride booking service to get home safely.


--Walking while impaired is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Get a sober friend to walk you home.


--If you see a drunk driver, contact law enforcement. You may call the Kentucky State Police at (800) 222-5555 or use the one-touch dial feature through the KSP app. Callers can remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license plate number if possible.


--If you have a friend who is about to drink and drive, take away the keys and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.


--Wear a seat belt. It is not only the law, but it’s the best defense against an impaired driver. Buckling up helps prevent injury and death if involved in a crash.

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