As Kentucky’s travel ban ends ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, several state agencies remind travelers of safety on the road and while boating.
Kentucky State Police will be increasing traffic enforcement by taking part in a national effort to increase officer presence on interstate and U.S highways.
The effort is called Operation C.A.R.E (Crash Awareness Reduction Effort). In this nationwide blitz to increase safety on the roads, troopers are encouraged to report all road activity that could be dangerous to others.
Troopers and officers will put a high emphasis on all traffic enforcement violations, including speeding, failure to wear safety restraints (seatbelt), impaired/distracted driving, and commercial vehicle enforcement.
KSP urged drivers this weekend to slow down, buckle up and to move over for first responders.
Kentucky passed a law in 2003 requiring motorists to move to the adjacent lane when approaching an emergency or public safety vehicle. If it is impossible or unsafe to change lanes, motorists must slow down and use caution. Failure to comply can result in fines, jail time or both.
KSP also said to eliminate distractions while driving and to leave early for your destinations.
In concordance with Operation C.A.R.E, if you see a troublesome driver or any suspicious road conditions, contact your local KSP Post or law enforcement agency.
BoatingKentucky Fish and Wildlife also announced that conservation officers will be monitoring the waters this weekend as summer boating season kicks off.
“Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of recreational boating season in Kentucky,” said Maj. Shane Carrier, assistant director of law enforcement for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Officers will be monitoring the waterways and encouraging social distancing. This goes for those in the water or out of the water.”
The department also encouraged boater safety.
“Do a quick check to ensure all required safety equipment is still on board and in serviceable condition before you launch,” Carrier said. “Some basic preparation will ensure your initial return to the water is both safe and enjoyable.”
Boaters should check the signage at the ramp for hours of operation before launching their boat. Operating hours for ramps operated by Kentucky State Parks are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit parks.ky.gov/covid-19-information for more information about Kentucky State Parks and COVID-19.
Some boat ramps operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be closed. Also, some bank access on Corps property may have limited access. Check the Corps websites for the latest operations information.
Boaters are encouraged to read the 2020-2021 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide before visiting the boat ramp. The guide provides basic boater information and is available online at fw.ky.gov and wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
Due to COVID-19, boat registrations have been extended for 90 days. Boat registrations will now expire July 31. Those who have recently purchased a new boat or purchased a boat from a third party will need to have their bill of sale.
As a reminder, a person must be at least 12 years old to operate a boat with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater on public waters. This includes personal watercraft. A boat operator 12-17 years old must possess a Safe Boating Certificate Card or completion of a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators-approved boater education course.
“We encourage the public to continue to enjoy our waterways responsibly,” Carrier said. “Boaters must consider two important things: wearing a lifejacket and avoiding alcohol consumption. Like seatbelts, lifejackets are proven to save lives.”
Kentucky law requires each occupant of a boat to have ready access to a U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife recommends that everyone wear a lifejacket while boating. Children younger than 12 must wear a lifejacket while in the open portion of a boat that is underway.
Carrier emphasized that boating and alcohol do not mix.
“It is illegal to consume alcohol on public waters in Kentucky,” he said.
Alcohol consumption can increase the impact of boater’s fatigue, a condition where the sun, wind, waves and boat movement dull the operator’s reaction time and decision making.
Carrier also cautions those swimming in ponds or lakes to follow some basic recommendations.
“With the pools closed, there may be many who go to the lake or river to swim, but are not familiar with swimming in these waters,” he said. “It is a totally different experience than swimming in a pool. The perception of distance is not the same on a bigger expanse of water and can get a swimmer in trouble.”
He also advises those using inflatable rafts to wear a lifejacket and stay close to shore in the case of the raft’s failure.
Fort Campbell Gate 4 closedAdditionally, Gate 4 will be closed road work at Fort Campbell during the holiday weekend from 5 a.m. today through 5 a.m. Tuesday. The visitor control center at Gate 4 will remain fully operational; however, visitors will need to enter through Gate 3.
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital outpatient services, including outpatient pharmacies, will be closed Monday. However, BACH Emergency Center, labor and delivery, inpatient services and supporting emergency services remain open 24/7. The COVID Clinic and Triage Line will remain open normal hours on the holiday.