While the clear weather made conditions favorable for travelers, the Kansas Highway Patrol conducted 10 special enforcements throughout the state, looking for individuals who were driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The Kansas Highway Patrol recently released its data from the Independence Day weekend holiday activity.
The reporting period for the holiday weekend ran from 6 p.m. on June 30 through 11:59 p.m. on July 4.
During that time, KHP personnel assisted 1,333 motorists. That assistance could have included one or more elements including removing debris from the road, providing information such as directions and checking on the welfare of drivers stopped on the side of the road. KHP troopers also provide service by relaying messages, furnishing fuel, changing flat tires, checking mechanical issues or calling for tow service when necessary.
No fatal crashes were worked during this year's reporting period.
“During what was projected to be an exceptionally heavy travel period, Kansas highways provided safe routes of travel for our citizens, as well as for those passing through the state,” said Colonel Mark Bruce, KHP Superintendent. “Most important, however, is the fact that no traffic fatalities occurred during the 2017 reporting period. I am thankful we avoided the needless loss of any lives over the holiday.”
KHP reported 22 DUI arrests this Independence Day weekend, up from the 15 recorded last year.
Speed citations were up as well — 1,272 were given out this year, nearly double the 685 given in 2015.
Speed warnings more than doubled from recent years, coming in at 1,031 this year as opposed to 412 in 2015.
More than 230 seat belt citations were handed out for adults and teenagers, rising from the 2016 total of 157.
While the numbers in nearly every reported category increased, that could be in part due to the length of this year's Independence Day period. Information was compared to data from both 2015 and 2016. The 2015 reporting period was from 6 p.m. July 2 to 11:59 p.m. July 5. The 2016 reporting period ran from 6 p.m. on July 1, 2016, through 11:59 p.m. on July 4. Since July 4 fell on a Tuesday, it increased the weekend from the four days that were recorded in 2015 and 2016 to five days in 2017.
One category that showed a drop in numbers this year was that of child restraint citations — 25 were reported this year, 6 fewer than the total of child restraint citations given out in 2016.
KHP offers these safety tips to make sure your summer travel goes safely:
Plan your trip, allowing plenty of time for delays. Make sure that you are well rested and comfortable with your route. Obtain construction zone locations and weather-related road conditions.
Make sure your vehicle is ready to travel. Summer heat can be hard on vehicles. Before leaving home, inspect your vehicle's fluids, tires, belts, wipers, and lights to avoid accidents and breakdowns.
Buckle your seat belt and properly secure children in safety seats or booster seats.
Watch the weather. Prepare for swiftly changing Kansas weather conditions. Adjust your speed and following distance to other vehicles as conditions dictate. Wet roads can be just as slick as those covered in snow or ice.
Use alcoholic beverages sensibly. Do not use alcoholic beverages before or during your trip, and never ride with someone who has been drinking. Kansas' law forbids open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles.
Drive defensively and courteously. Assume another driver's mistakes are not personal. Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver is not. Avoid all conflicts if possible. If another driver challenges you, take a deep breath and get out of the way.
If you break down, get your car as far onto the shoulder as possible and activate your 4-way flashers. Stay with your vehicle, lock your doors, and let your windows down a little.
If you have a cellular phone, you can dial *47 (*HP) for the nearest Highway Patrol dispatcher or *KTA on the Kansas Turnpike for assistance.