Starting today, several state and local law enforcement agencies will participate in the Operation Drive Smart Enforcement Blitz on U.S. 60 in Franklin, Shelby and Jefferson counties.
Capt. Nathan Kent, commander of Kentucky State Police Post 12 in Frankfort, says troopers will double the time they spend patrolling U.S. 60 in Franklin and Shelby counties. Special patrols will saturate the area and a six-man team equipped with lasers will target speeders.
Troopers will also conduct traffic safety checkpoints to check for valid license and insurance information, as well as impaired drivers or vehicle violations. The program will be funded with federal overtime money and will continue until Sept. 14.
The enforcement blitz will also focus on aggressive driving, which includes improper passing, tailgating and disregard for traffic control devices, Kent said.
"Aggressive driving behaviors have a direct link to injury accidents," he said.
The strategy is successful, Kent said, and there has been a significant reduction in injury and fatal collisions across the state. So far this year, there have been 34 fewer fatal accidents than at this same time last year, he said.
"Measured in lives, those statistics are invaluable," Kent said.
The Drive Smart Program was created in 2004 and U.S. 60 was identified as one of 13 corridors with a high volume of injury and fatal collisions.
Maj. Fred Deaton of the Frankfort Police and Capt. Greg Muravchick of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department says their agencies will also participate in the enforcement blitz.
Muravchick said deputies will conduct extra patrols and could assist the KSP at checkpoints. The enforcement blitz will also focus on seatbelt safety, Muravchick said.
"Hopefully we can educate people that seatbelts and safety save lives," he said.
Deaton said U.S. 60 is an area of concern in Frankfort because it has a high volume of traffic and crashes.
His officers will focus on moving violations, occupant safety and impaired drivers, he said.
"The ultimate goal is to reduce crashes and make the highways safer," Deaton said.
Boyd Sigler, director of highway safety for the Kentucky Department of Transportation Safety, said it's important to emphasize seatbelt safety as well. Legislators recently approved a primary seatbelt safety law, but Sigler said more than 57 percent of drivers killed in collisions are not wearing them.
"What's Holding You Back Kentucky?" " new seatbelt program designed for teenage drivers " will also be incorporated into the enforcement blitz.