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KSP campaign focuses on underage drinking

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By The Staff

Editor:

I am writing to express my concern for teen-agers who have headed back to school this fall and may be exposed to the dangers of underage use of alcohol.  

As a Kentucky state trooper, I see first-hand the destruction that underage drinking brings on our youth. One of the hardest tasks for any law enforcement officer is to notify a parent whose teen-aged son or daughter has been killed  in an alcohol-related incident.

In 2007, Kentucky law enforcement arrested 3,108 people ages 16-19 for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In 177 cases, it was the driver’s second DUI offense, in 20 cases it was their third offense and in 27 cases it was their fourth offense.

Additionally, the KSP made 786 arrests for possession of alcohol by a minor. Sadly enough, 40 percent of Kentucky teen-agers say they get alcohol from a family member or from their own home.

Here are the statistics from the six counties that make up the Post 5 area –Oldham, Trimble, Henry, Carroll, Gallatin and Owen counties:

2007

  • 555 total crashes involving teens 16-19, resulting in 196 injuries and four fatalities
  • Among all drivers: 2607 crashes, 848 injuries and 38 fatalities
  • Underage drinking arrests: 54
  • 21 percent of all crashes in the Post 5 area involve teen-age drivers

2006

  • 601 total crashes involving teens 16-19, resulting in 232 injuries and three fatalities
  • Among all drivers: 2672 crashes, 932 injuries, and 13 fatalities
  • Underage drinking arrests: 53
  • 23 percent of all crashes in the Post 5 area involved teen-agers

The 2006 Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) Survey indicated that 33 percent of high school seniors say they had been drunk in the past 30 days; 25 percent indicated they had participated in binge-drinking in the past two weeks. Nationally, there are 5,000 alcohol-related teen deaths each year.

Friday nights in Kentucky are synonymous with high school football, stadium lights, marching bands and zealous fans – and increased traffic and post-game celebrations.

In past years, the highest number of collisions occurred in September and October – specifically on Fridays during the evening hours.

For this reason, KSP will conduct the “Friday Night Blue Lights” enforcement campaign targeting speed, seat-belt and alcohol violations. The emphasis will be on underage drinking in and around football venues.

KSP will conduct road safety checks and saturation patrols in these areas.

KSP officers also will be conducting educational programs in high schools, and we will be a  presence during high school football games.

KSP is mailing out information on this campaign to all Kentucky high schools to help promote safe driving and the prevention of underage drinking.

Many schools came on board last year with this program, and we anticipate more will this football season.

We ask everyone to be diligent in reporting impaired drivers and underage drinking. Most importantly, if you are a parent, please talk with your teen about the dangers of underage drinking.

For more information about the “Friday Night Blue Lights” program, call Post 5 at (502) 532-6363.  

Additionally, KSP has a toll-free number citizens can use to report impaired driving or underage drinking: (800) 222-5555.

Capt. Dean Hayes, commander

KSP Post 5

Campbellsburg