The Arkansas City Police Department will join many other police agencies across the state, including the Kansas Highway Patrol, in the Kansas Thanksgiving Safe Arrival traffic enforcement campaign from Nov. 25, through Dec. 1.

A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation will underwrite overtime traffic enforcement that specifically aims at removing impaired drivers from roadways and ticketing vehicle occupants who are improperly restrained or unrestrained, or whose children are unrestrained.

The day before Thanksgiving sees more impairment-related crashes than any other day of the year.

Those driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs endanger not only themselves, but also others with whom they share the road, including passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

On average across Kansas, three people are injured every day and someone is killed every four days in alcohol- or drug-related crashes — and the crashes tend to be more severe.

Vehicle occupants in alcohol- or other drug-related crashes are more than 2 1/2 times more likely to be injured or killed than those involved in crashes in which alcohol or other drugs were not a factor, according to KDOT, which tracks all crashes in the state.

Each week across Kansas, more than 250 drivers are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

A DUI conviction can result in jail time, the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license, a fine of $500 to $2,500, participation in an alcohol or other drug treatment program, and the purchase and installation of an ignition interlock device for the offender’s vehicle by the offender.

An ignition interlock device requires the offender to blow into a device that measures blood alcohol concentration prior to starting the car.

Also responsible for needless deaths and maiming is the failure by many drivers and passengers simply to buckle up. Twice as many Kansans who die from a crash are unrestrained as are restrained.

Even worse is the fact that injuries suffered by those who are unbuckled are likely to be much more severe and disabling than injuries suffered by those who are buckled in properly.

That applies regardless of speed or whether the collision is on a city street, county road, or highway.

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