As the summer season concludes over the next few weeks, Kansas law enforcement will be doing all they can to keep the roads safe from impaired drivers. Beginning on Aug. 14 and through the Labor Day weekend, more than 150 law enforcement agencies from across the state will join forces in a concentrated effort detecting and removing the impaired driver.
This year’s campaign includes a No Refusal Weekend, Aug. 16 – 17, when all suspected impaired drivers who refuse breath testing may be subject to blood testing for alcohol and/or drugs. This No Refusal Weekend, law enforcement officials may work in coordination with prosecutors to obtain blood draw warrants for drivers who refuse breath and/or drug testing. No Refusal programs help ensure that prosecutors obtain the scientific evidence needed to effectively prosecute cases involving impaired driving.
“My hope is there are no impaired driving crashes or fatalities in the state of Kansas,” said Kansas Highway Patrol Superintendent Herman Jones. “Make the right decision, don’t get behind the wheel impaired. The impaired driver makes the choice to endanger themselves and everyone else on the road.”
According to the National Safety Council, 40 percent of car fatalities occur in the summer months. The Labor Day holiday brings increased traffic and unfortunately, a higher-than-normal number of deaths related to impaired drivers on the road. On average, impaired drivers cause about one-third of all traffic fatalities in Kansas. Across Kansas, impaired drivers injure or kill more than 2,200 people each year in car crashes.
“We want everyone’s summer to end on high note and not in a senseless death that is 100 percent preventable,” said Chris Bortz, Kansas Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Program Manager. “Law enforcement will be vigilant in their efforts to keep everyone safe, but everyone has a personal responsibility in this effort; not just law enforcement.”
The 22-day enforcement campaign will be supported with statewide education and on-the-street vigilance by law enforcement. This year’s campaign reinforces that no excuse is a good excuse for driving impaired. Designate before you celebrate, use a ride sharing service or get a ride from a sober friend are just a few ways to get home safely.
Impaired drivers can face jail time, suspension of their driving privileges, fines and other costs of up to $10,000. In addition, the offender will be required to install and pay monthly services fees on an ignition interlock. Beyond the financial and legal penalties, impaired drivers face the risk of losing their own lives or taking someone else’s.