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Holiday Travel

State Police are saying they will be gearing up to keep the roads safe this week.
Police say one of the main ways people can keep safe is to make sure to pay attention on the road.
Tonight on Mountain News at Six, we'll have a report on some simple things you can do to be safe.

These are some of those tips.

· Don’t drink and drive. Kentucky has a zero tolerance policy regarding driving while impaired by alcohol. Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 will result in an immediate arrest even for first time offenders.

· Buckle up. Kentucky law makes the driver responsible for assuring that all occupants in their vehicle are properly restrained. The primary seat belt law went into effect July 12, 2006, allowing police to enforce observed violations of this law. Drivers who are stopped solely for failure to use seat belts on themselves or their passengers are being issued written warnings until the penalty phase goes into effect Jan. 1, 2007. At that time, citations will be issued solely for failure to wear restraints.

· Use approved child restraints. According to Kentucky law, all children 40 inches in height or less, must be buckled into a child safety restraint seat that meets federal standards. Children over 40 inches tall must wear a seat belt. Violation of this law will result in a $50.00 fine with an additional $10.00 fine donated to the Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund. Motorists should be aware that the back seat is the safest place for children to sit, especially in vehicles equipped with passenger-side air bags. Infants and toddlers should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag. Parents should always be sure that their child’s safety seat has been properly installed in the vehicle according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

· Slow down. While many drivers don't consider speeding to be as risky as impaired driving or not wearing seat belts, studies show that higher travel speeds are responsible for a significant increase in highway traffic deaths. Speeding reduces a driver's ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway. It extends the distance required to stop a vehicle and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation.

· Obey speed limits. Excessive speed reduces your ability to avoid a crash, extends your vehicle’s stopping distance and increases the severity of a crash when it occurs.

· Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can cause lapses in attention, slowed awareness and impaired judgement.

· Don’t tailgate. Follow other vehicles at a safe distance. If you find yourself being tailgated, don’t hit the brakes. Slow down gradually and let the other vehicle pass you.

· Avoid aggressive driving behaviors such as passing on the shoulder of the road, changing lanes without signaling, violating traffic signals and weaving in and out of traffic.

· Expect the unexpected. Watch traffic around you and be prepared to react. Scan the road ahead for potential hazards.

· Watch for road debris such as tire treads, garbage, lumber, gravel, tree limbs, mufflers and exhaust parts.

· Take extra care on rural roads with 55 mile per hour speed limits.

· Avoid or minimize in-car distractions such as cell phone use, changing tapes or CDs, eating or other activities that can remove your attention from the road.

· Take frequent breaks to keep alert during long distance trips.

· Be extra cautious around large trucks. They have large “blind spots” and much longer stopping distances than passenger cars.

· Remember that three out of four crashes happen within 25 miles of home at speeds of 45 miles per hour or less. About 40 percent of all fatal crashes occur on roads where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or less.

Citizens can contribute to highway safety during the holiday period by reporting erratic, impaired or speeding drivers to the KSP toll-free hotline at 1-800-222-5555. Signs that a driver might be impaired include weaving, swerving, drifting or straddling the center line; driving on the wrong side of the road; driving at inconsistent speeds; stopping without cause or braking erratically; ignoring or responding slowly to traffic lights; driving too close to curbs and driving at night with no lights. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number, if possible.


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