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Office of Highway Safety Reminds Kentucky Drivers to Plan Safe Rides this Holiday Season

Levisa Lazer

To keep Kentucky roadways as safe as possible through the holidays, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Office of Highway Safety is joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and law enforcement nationwide in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign Dec. 15, 2021 through Jan. 1, 2022.

“It’s been a tough year for all Kentuckians and I want us to have a great Christmas and New Year,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “However, I’m asking you to please celebrate safely. Avoid unnecessary travel, limit gatherings and use precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while with anyone from outside of your household. Second, please get home safely. Drive sober or plan a safe ride home with someone else to protect yourself and everyone on the road.”

According to NHTSA, impaired driving-related crashes tend to increase during the holidays.

“While our holiday celebrations may look a little different again this year, our message stays the same:  Always plan for a sober ride home,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “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.”

In Kentucky, 542 impaired driving-related crashes resulting in 241 injuries and 13 deaths occurred during the Christmas and New Year holidays over the last five years.

“Drugs and/or alcohol not only hinder your ability to drive, but also affect your judgment about whether you can or should drive,” said KYTC State Highway Engineer James Ballinger. “This is why we ask that you make a plan before drinking begins.  No matter what you choose – a sober friend, taxi service or ride booking company – we want you to arrive at your destination safely.”

To prevent impaired driving-related tragedies this holiday season, KYTC recommends the following:          

1. Before festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night;

2. If impaired, use a ride-booking company or taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation;

3. If you see an impaired driver, safely pull over and contact law enforcement. You may dial the KSP toll-free line directly at 1-800-222-5555 or call 911;

4. If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination;

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

“Impaired driving-related crashes are 100 percent preventable,” said Ballinger.  “All we ask is that you make safe choices this holiday season and celebrate responsibly.”

For more information on drunken driving visit http://kydrivesober.com

(provided by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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