Numbers show that highway safety grants help to decrease accident rate

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What speed are you going?

By The Staff

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - When police agencies are awarded special grant money, there is normally a goal to achieve.

    In the terms of highway safety grants, there are goals such as reducing the number of alcohol-induced accidents, both injury and non-injury.

    In Bullitt County, the numbers are showing that the state-issued federal funds are working.

    And the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Department has recently secured a piece of equipment that could further help cut down on the number of accidents.

    Sheriff Donnie Tinnell said his agency receives many requests seeking relief from speeding motorists, especially in subdivisions.

    With limited manpower, Tinnell said the department secured a portable radar unit from Fort Knox Military.

    The unit has been set up on Highway 44 at Sunview Drive for westbound motorists.

    “People naturally slow up when they see police or a radar unit,” said Tinnell. “We know that speed is a factor in many accidents and our goal is to decrease the number of accidents.”

    The plan is to move the portable unit in various places throughout the county. There could also be sheriff’s deputies stationed near the radar unit.

    “I don’t want to write a lot of tickets,” said Tinnell. “But I do want to deal with careless driving.”

    Several cities, as well as the sheriff’s department, are in the middle of a state highway safety grant. Working together, Tinnell said the goal has been to provide overtime hours to decrease the number of accidents.

    A simple comparison of the numbers show that something is having a positive affect.

    Tinnell said from April 1, 2010, through July 5, 2010, there were 415 collisions, which is 100 less than the same period a year ago. Last year, that period resulted in four fatalities with 187 injuries. This year, that number dropped to just one fatality and 112 injuries.

    That same reduction could be seen on Highway 44, which was part of a targeted enforcement area.

    The number of collisions dropped by 44 over the same period and injuries dropped by 53 to only 19.

    “Something is working well,” said Tinnell. “I think the overtime allowed through the grant is a major part of that reduction.”

    The sheriff’s department also wrote 45 more citations for seatbelt violations during the same period.

    “It’s always about speed,” said Tinnell. “These numbers are pretty powerful. It makes for a safety community.”

    When the current grant ends in October, Tinnell hopes to be receiving money from another highway grant. Besides overtime pay, there is the possibility of getting $15,000 in overtime funds and another $16,500 for equipment. The wish list includes a couple of MDTs for the cars, DUI checkpoint equipment and two radars for cars.

    Tinnell said the county is also applying agree for two officers to be funded through the COPS program.

    The sheriff got the state’s mid-term OK on its handling of the grant.

    If any neighborhood would like to learn more about getting the radar units in your subdivision or community, call the sheriff’s office at 543-2514.