Episode 6: Murray personal injury attorney Jeff Roberts is joined by Calloway County Sheriff Sam Steger to discuss highway safety on Western Kentucky roadways.
Sheriff Steger has been in law enforcement since 1992 at Murray State University as a dispatcher. He later joined the Murray Police Department and the Calloway County Sheriff’s Department. He eventually joined the Kentucky State Police until retiring in 2013. He’s been the Calloway County Sheriff since 2015.
The Importance of Seatbelts
The object stays in motion until it’s stopped by another object. In a car wreck, this refers to a human body and the steering wheel or dashboard. Wearing a seatbelt can protect you from that sudden and violent impact. There’s a concern that someone might not be able to escape from the vehicle because he/she can’t get out of the seatbelt. In Sheriff Steger’s experience, this is a very, very rare occurrence. Traffic fatalities can still result due to the speed and angle of impact. In those cases, the seatbelt may not have prevented the death of the driver and/or passengers. The benefits of proper seatbelt usage far outweigh any risks.
Driving Under the Influence
The sheriff’s deputies have the responsibility to monitor the county roads. Some people assume they’ll be safer using the backroads, if they’ve had a few too many drinks. However, the sheriff’s department is actively patrolling those roads. They set up check points and other ways to ensure the safety of other drivers. This is particularly important during and around the holidays.
Safe Driving Around Farm Machinery
In Western Kentucky, it’s very common to see tractors, combines and other farm machinery on the roads. Sheriff Steger expresses the need for drivers to use patience. Most farmers understand and try to move over to allow traffic to pass safely. However, they also have a right to use the roads.
Drivers often fail to understand how quickly they are approaching the farm equipment on the roads. Rear-end collisions can occur when drivers collide with the equipment they either didn’t see or didn’t realize was moving much slower than the cars.
Speeding on County Roads
In Kentucky, the speed limit on county roads is 55mph. Unless otherwise posted, cars can maintain that speed. There may be areas that should be slower, for example around curves or in other situations. It’s important for drivers to pay attention to the recommended slower speeds, where posted or recommended.
Watch out for Motorcycles
Drivers often don’t see motorcycles or underestimate the speed of motorcycles. Most of the collisions, according to Sheriff Steger, occur when a car is pulling onto a road from a cross street. It’s important to take that extra second to really look to see if a motorcyclist is approaching.
Use Your Turn Signal
Turn signals are important to use. However, just because someone uses or fails to use a turn signal doesn’t necessarily mean the collision is that driver’s fault. Both drivers need to make sure the car is/is not turning regardless of the blinker.
Common Factors in Calloway County Car Wreck
- Distracted Driving – Using the cell phone, adjusting the radio, eating while driving, etc.
- Speed – Driving too fast, especially in poor weather conditions (e.g. rain, fog, snow, etc.). Most people think speeding is the leading cause of automobile accidents. Surprisingly however, it’s actually a driver who’s distracted while operating a vehicle.
In Calloway County, 641 South is the most dangerous road. It’s heavily used by cars, motorcycle, tractor trailers and other vehicles. There’s a plan to make this section a 4-lane, which should help to reduce the number of annual collisions.
Give Bicyclists Room on the Road
Cyclists have the same right of way as a car and are required to operate under the same rules. It’s important for drivers to give people on bicycles plenty of room when approaching and passing them on road. Move over and give them additional room.
For more information, visit www.JeffRobertsLaw.com. This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice. Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson. This is an advertisement.