(Olathe, Ks.) – The Olathe Kansas 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, November 25. A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will underwrite overtime traffic enforcement especially targeted at impaired drivers and vehicle occupants who are not properly restrained.Surprisingly, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Wednesday-Sunday) commonly outranks all other holidays in its number of alcohol-related 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, six 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, possible impoundment of their vehicle, and installation of an ignition interlock device in that vehicle.
Failure to simply take two seconds to buckle up is also responsible for needless death and maiming. Kansans who do not buckle up are about 12 times more likely to be killed and almost twice as likely to suffer injury as those who do buckle up. Even worse is the fact that 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.
According to Sgt. David Williams, “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 non-drinking acquaintance. 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, it's their best defense, and it's the law. 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!”