FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) has honored 142 law enforcement officers from 117 agencies across the commonwealth for their efforts to target impaired drivers.
Mitchell Alford with the Loyall Police Department received the 2015 Governor’s Impaired Driving Enforcement Award at a ceremony held at the Louisville Marriott East. Awards were presented to officers with the most impaired-driving arrests in each agency.
Receiving the award for Kentucky State Police Post 10 was Trooper Sammy Faris. He is assigned to the Knox County area of the Post 10 district.
“Impaired driving is not an accident – it’s an epidemic of careless disregard for human life,” said KOHS Executive Director Bill Bell. “These officers, their departments and agencies render a great service for public safety by removing drunken and drugged drivers from our roads.”
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer commended the aggressive enforcement and awareness efforts to keep Kentucky roadways safe.
“Kentucky drivers are hearing the message loud and clear about the dangers of driving under the influence,” said Commissioner Brewer. “These officers and troopers are putting their lives on the line each day in an effort to save others. However, we still have work to do because one alcohol-related crash is too many.”
In Kentucky in 2014, there were more than 4,300 crashes involving alcohol, resulting in over 2,000 injuries and 113 fatalities. There also were more than 1,400 drug-related crashes, resulting in 939 injuries and 41 fatalities.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one in three Americans will be impacted by a drunken-driving crash in their lifetime.
Theresa Martinez, a volunteer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said holidays are especially difficult for those who have lost loved ones to an impaired driver.
“A drunk and drugged driver killed my 23-year-old daughter, Ashley, in 2012,” said Martinez. “As painful as it is to tell her story, I believe that warning others about the dangers of drunken driving will help prevent families from going through the grief that we feel on a daily basis.”
The KOHS, Kentucky State Police and other law enforcement agencies are partnering for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday enforcement campaign Dec. 18, 2015, through Jan. 3, 2016. The campaign is funded through NHTSA, which says high-visibility enforcement reduces alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.
For more information, visit the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign headquarters at www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober.