Mayor Abramson and Chief White Announce Traffic / Driver Safety Month
Wednesday September 12, 2007
For Immediate Release
Alicia Smiley 502-574-7761
Phil Russell 502-574-7665
Allison Martin 502-575-1909
Mayor Jerry Abramson and Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White today announced September as Traffic / Driver Safety Month for the Keep Louisville Safe campaign.
Abramson, Chief White, Louisville Fire Greg Frederick and Louisville Metro EMS Director and CEO Dr. Neal Richmond taped public announcements that remind motorists about their responsibilities when encountering an emergency vehicle with flashing lights and sirens. The "Move Over" law requires motorists to slow down and move over to the lane farthest away from an emergency vehicle that is stopped along the side of the road with its lights flashing. Kentucky law also requires motorists to pull to the side of the road and come to a complete stop whenever they are approached or followed by an emergency vehicle on a run.
"It is imperative that drivers pay close attention to our emergency vehicles on the roadway," Abramson said. "Seconds matter when you're talking about rushing residents to the hospital or if our first responders are called out to fires or accidents."
Kentucky's "Quick Clearance" law also requires drivers involved in non-injury accidents to call police and move their vehicles off the roadway to avoid obstructing traffic. Approximately 20 percent of accidents are secondary, and the "Quick Clearance" law greatly increases driver safety by quickly clearing routes.
Motorists in Louisville average about 43 collisions each day, with at least eight of those resulting in one or more injuries. In an effort to reduce those numbers, LMPD's Traffic Unit is participating in several initiatives right now. Those initiatives include: Operation School Zone!, Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT), Driving Under the Influence (DUI) details and Operation Drive Smart.
The Traffic Unit began enforcement of Operation School Zone! last spring and continued the successful campaign with the launch of the new school year in August. Enforcement has become more efficient and effective with the use of a new tool called LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). Rather than using radar technology, LIDAR uses a light-detecting laser, making it easier and more accurate in pinpointing a specific vehicle. The new tool helped the Traffic Unit cite more than 1,000 school-zone speeders, earning it a state award.
"We have to protect our children, and some of our most devastating accidents can happen near schools," Chief White said. "It's imperative that our residents recognize the danger of speeding in school zones."
TACT and Operation Drive Smart were both introduced last week by state and local law enforcement. TACT focuses on motorists who fail to provide enough clearance or share the roadway with semi-trucks. Drivers may also be stopped and ticketed for tailgating or cutting off large trucks. Operation Drive Smart, also called the US-60 Blitz, will target speeders and motorists along Shelbyville Road who fail to wear seat belts.
"We need the public to work with us in developing pro-active driving behaviors that can reduce the number of collisions in our community," Chief White said.
LMPD is also the recipient of an underage teen drinking grant worth $50,000. The Traffic Unit plans to partner with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to provide educational programming for high school students about the dangers of drinking. The Traffic Unit will also work with each of the LMPD's eight divisions to establish saturation and DUI patrols throughout the remainder of 2007.
The Mayor and Chief White were joined at the press conference by members of MADD and the Jefferson County Medical Society Bioethics Committee.
Keep Louisville Safe was introduced to the public in May when Abramson and Chief White alerted the public about the problem and prevention of elder abuse. The Mayor and Chief hosted a Meth 101 workshop in June. In July, the two launched a public awareness and education campaign to combat auto thefts. Just last month, Abramson and White unveiled the online crime mapping tool MetroWatch.
Other topics to be addressed throughout the year by Keep Louisville Safe include:
Domestic Violence Prevention
New Child Safety Initiative
Identity Theft Prevention
Protecting Children from Internet Predators Workshop