TOPEKA (KSNT) – Traffic deaths are down in Kansas, compared to this time last year, and Kansas troopers are hoping to keep it that way.

“Every fatality on a Kansas highway represents a family member that is lost,” Kansas Highway Patrol Lieutenant Candice Breshears said on the cusp of Labor Day weekend. “This weekend we will have troopers enforcing Kansas laws across the state as we partner with other state and local law enforcement for the ‘You Drink. You Drive.'”

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, traffic deaths are down 2.7% from last year.

(Courtesy: Kansas Department of Tranpsortation)

This Labor Day, the Kansas Highway Patrol will be participating in Operation CARE (Crash Awareness & Reduction Effort) over the Labor Day holiday weekend. According to the KHP speed, inattention and impaired driving remain the leading cause of crashes.

The You Drink. You Drive. You Lose campaign is funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation, providing overtime for troopers so more troopers can be on the roadways.

“As the summer travel season comes to a close, the Kansas Highway Patrol will be working to ensure our travelers make it to their destinations safely. As you celebrate the upcoming Labor Day weekend, we urge everyone to play it safe and have a sober driver or use a rideshare service if you will be drinking,” said Lieutenant Candice Breshears. “If you are traveling and suspect another motorist may be impaired, please dial 911.”

Lt. Breshears is offering some simple tips for staying safe on Kansas highways:

  • Always wear your seatbelt every trip, every time. It’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
  • Check your vehicle’s condition, including tires, fluid levels, and mechanical equipment.
  • Check road conditions at www.kandrive.org to look for construction or delays on your route.
  • Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination.
  • Buckle up and make sure your children are in the appropriately fitted child safety seats.
  • Have an emergency kit in your vehicle with essentials such as water, flashlights, chargers, blankets, and non-perishable food.
  • Always have a sober driver before you drink alcohol away from home or take a sober ride to and from the location if you will be consuming alcohol. Remember, this is your decision. 
  • Before you take a new prescription medication, check your medication for driving warnings.
  • Before you choose to drive after drinking, know that Kansas Ignition Interlock laws require that any driver convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) must install an Ignition Interlock Device, including an electronic log device, on every vehicle you own or which is registered to you. 
  • Before you choose to drink and drive, think about your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.