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 and Traffic Enforcement Unit
In 2012, the department issued 9233 traffic citations resulting in a total of 12,606 traffic-related charges. The most common citation issued is for seat belt violations with 3818 issued in 2012. Second to seat belts, the department issued 2344 citations for speeding. Failure to produce proof of insurance resulted in 1596 charges.
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. In 2011, Paducah saw a 6.4 percent reduction in the number of injury collisions and an 11.3 percent drop in the total number of injuries from crashes over 2010's numbers. That was almost four times the reduction the department had hoped for when safety objectives were set for the 2011 Highway Safety Programs' grant. However, in 2012 even though the total number of collisions compared to 2011 was down by 5.1%, the number of injury and fatal collisions increased.
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. One of those 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) >>
Within its first three months, the Paducah Police Department saw more than a 17.5 percent reduction in collisions in the targeted areas for the Traffic Enforcement Unit and more than a 5 percent reduction city-wide for the entire year. 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 Collisions and Accident Reconstruction Team (ART)
In Paducah, officers are quite aware of the three most dangerous stretches of road: Hinkleville Road between Interstate 24 and Olivet Church Road, Irvin Cobb Drive on Paducah's southside, and Lone Oak Road. In 2012, the Paducah Police Department investigated 1573 collisions with 343 of them with injuries. In the 343 injury collisions, 523 people were injured with a total of seven fatalities. So what is the most contributing factor regarding crashes in Paducah? The number one answer is driver inattention followed by failure to yield right-of-way.
The Paducah Police Department's Accident Reconstruction Team (ART) is led by Captain David White, senior reconstructionist. The ART responds to all fatal traffic collision as well as serious crashes that may result in a fatality. In 2012, the ART investigated all five of the fatal crashes in the city and responded to several other crashes that were later determined not have been life-threatening.
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 2010, the department made 260 arrests for Driving Under the Influence.