When it comes to traffic safety, you commonly hear the three "E's": education, enforcement, and engineering. The officers with the Paducah Police Department spend a great deal of time enforcing traffic laws as they patrol the streets.
Even though Paducah's population is a little more than 25,000, the city is a hub of activity for the surrounding region. The Paducah Chamber of Commerce estimates Paducah's daytime population can exceed 100,000 people. This creates an increase in traffic and in collisions.
Traffic Citations, Collisions, and Traffic Enforcement Unit
In 2013, the department issued 9781 traffic citations and investigated 1594 collisions. These collisions and traffic citations resulted in a total of 13,267 traffic offenses charged. The most common citation issued is for seat belt violations with 3875 issued in 2013. Second to seat belts, the department issued 2168 citations for speeding. Failure to produce proof of insurance resulted in 1379 charges. Red light violations and texting while driving make up the balance of the citations. The Paducah Police Department does not collect the revenue generated by traffic citations.
The Paducah Police Department contributes to state-wide campaigns such as "Click It or Ticket". According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute, an estimated 85 percent of people used their seat belt in 2010. Seat belt use has decreased the number of traffic related fatalities. On Paducah's roadways, officers investigated 1330 vehicle collisions in 2013. In addition, they completed reports on 264 collisions on private parking lots. In total, 277 of the collisions resulted in injuries to 468 people. There were four fatalities in 2013. 1313 of the collisions caused damage to property in 2013.
In October 2012, the Paducah Police Department launched a three-person traffic unit to make our roadways more safe. The Traffic Enforcement Unit spends its day focusing on enforcement, awareness, and education in Paducah's high-traffic and high-collision areas. In 2013, the Unit concentrated its efforts on areas of Hinkleville Road near Kentucky Oaks Mall; Lone Oak Road; Jac kson Street; and North 3rd Street. The Unit's efforts in 2013 reduced collisions involving injuries by 19 percent and the number of people injured by ten percent.
One of those Traffic Enforcement Unit's focus areas is the stretch of Hinkleville Road between Interstate 24 and Olivet Church Road. A study published by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in September 2012 indicates that the number of crashes on that stretch of roadway is higher than average when compared to similar roads. The Cabinet also reports that nearly 25,000 motorists travel that section of roadway daily.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Study of U.S. 60 (Sept. 2012) >>
Paducah View - Traffic Enforcement Unit (April 2013, 4:52 minute video) >>
The reduction in collisions allows officers to conduct more proactive policing. An average traffic collision can occupy from 42 minutes to more than 2.5 hours of an officer's time depending upon the damage and severity of the collision.
Using funds from a MetLife Foundation grant, the Paducah Police Department purchased a roadside speed trailer to help educate drivers. The Traffic Enforcement Unit also has made several presentations regarding the dangers of distracted driving and are trying to educate the public through the distribution of educational flyers.
If you would like the Traffic Enforcement Unit to make a presentation to your school or civic group or you would like to contribute financially to our education efforts, please contact Captain Don Hodgson.
Paducah View - Dangers of Distracted Driving (December 2013, 2:54 minutes video) >>
Traffic Crash Reconstruction (TCR) Unit
The Paducah Police Department's Traffic Crash Reconstruction (TCR) Unit is led by Captain David White, senior reconstructionist. The TCR responds to all fatal traffic collisions as well as serious crashes that may result in a fatality. The TCR's responsibility is to determine if criminal charges are applicable. If so, the Unit investigates and helps in the prosecution of those cases which may involve felony or misdemeanor offenses. The TCR also helps document and preserve evidence that may later be used in civil proceedings. Also, the TCR investigations into causational factors help aid in the continuous research efforts underway by academics, government experts, and automotive engineers who are trying to make our automobiles and roadways safer.
The Paducah Police Department is grateful for the grant funding that it receives from the State of Kentucky to conduct targeted traffic and DUI enforcement. With the grant funding, officers are able to conduct check points and receive training to better detect impaired driving. In 2013, the department made 340 arrests for Driving Under the Influence.