Sheriff’s officers to step up patrols near high schools

This 2018 Kansas traffic crash chart showed that traffic crashes were high among young drivers. (Chart from Kansas Department of Transportation)

From Feb. 24 through March 6, the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office will join other law enforcement agencies in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma with increased enforcement near high schools to raise awareness on roadway safety, according to a spokesman.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States – ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence, a spokesman stated.

“Even one teen death is unacceptable,” Sheriff Don Ash said. “Please slow down, put the phone away or turn it off, and always buckle up.”

Officers will issue citations to any individual who refuses to obey the traffic laws, whether it is for speeding, texting or failing to buckle up, the spokesman said, reminding teens that driving is a privilege and encouraging them to learn about the importance of driving safely.

A spokesman for the Sheriff’s office, Capt. Kyle Harvey, stated that the increased patrols will be held around all high schools, public and private, in Wyandotte County.

This is an annual program that has been conducted the past four years, he said. The enforcement program is in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Depending on staffing and available resources, the Sheriff’s office also may patrol more around middle schools and elementary schools, he said.

According to KDOT 2018 traffic crash statistics, drivers ages 15 to 19 were involved in 12,173 crashes statewide, including 55 fatal crashes and 2,811 injury crashes. Drivers aged 20 to 24 were involved in 13,270 crashes, including 58 fatal crashes and 3,060 injury crashes. (More crash statistics are online at https://kdotapp.ksdot.org/AccidentStatistics/.)

The top contributing circumstances to crashes in all age groups, according to KDOT 2018 traffic crash statistics, included failure to give full attention; failure to yield the right-of-way; following too closely; driving too fast for conditions; and an animal in the path of the vehicle. Other circumstances that were noted were No. 8, alcohol; No. 16, falling asleep or fatigue; No. 17, exceeding the speed limit; No. 18, mobile phone; No. 20, ill or sick; and No. 24, illegal drugs.

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