Police Keeping Radar Guns Trained On Holiday Drivers

By Craig Hoffman

(LOUISVILLE, September 3rd, 2004, 5:30 p.m.) -- Officials at AAA say an estimated 34 million Americans are expected to hit the roads over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Many travelers got off to an early start, and as WAVE 3's Craig Hoffman so did law enforcement officers looking for speeders.

As the Labor Day Holiday gets under way, police officers on both side of the river are urging travelers to take their time on the road -- and they're taking steps to make sure drivers don't go to fast. In a speed trap on Interstate 65 in Bullitt County, officers have clocked drivers going as high as 96 miles-per-hour.

Others were clocked at 80, 83, and 89 miles per hour -- well over the posted 65 mile-per-hour speed limit. Kentucky State Trooper Bruce Reeves says he's heard all the excuses. "Sometimes they'll say they're just not paying attention. Other times they say they're driving someone else's car -- I've had that one today."

A year ago, 11 people died on Kentucky roads over the Labor Day holiday weekend, and police say speed was the leading factor.

By mid-afternoon Friday, Trooper Terry Whitaker said he was "getting all kinds of speeders -- we're giving them a little latitude, we're starting about 15 miles over, but we're still getting pretty much all we want."

Although police can't stop drivers specifically for a seat belt violation, no warnings will be issued to those stopped for other offenses. And of course there will be a zero tolerance for drunk drivers. "Don't ask for a warning," Whitaker said. "We're trying to reduce our crashes and fatalities through strict enforcement -- and I emphasize strict enforcement."

Officers will also be watching main city streets and busy state highways, setting up safety checkpoints and speed traps.

Online Reporter: Craig Hoffman

Online Producer: Michael Dever