Friday, January 31, 2014

Five for Friday with Lt. Josh Kellerman


Today’s Five- for- Friday feature is with Lt. Josh Kellerman of the Kansas Highway Patrol. Lt. Kellerman has been with the Patrol since 2003 and currently serves as Public Information Officer.  An all-time low for fatalities on Kansas roads was reached in 2013 so we thought that was a good reason to talk about driver behavior with an expert.
1. What do you think is the single-most significant factor contributing to the drop in fatalities in 2013?
I believe the strict enforcement efforts from our statewide law enforcement agencies and the continued dedication to traffic safety by KDOT has played a huge contributing factor in the drop in fatalities. Through programs such as Click It or Ticket, law enforcement is provided that extra ability to be more present on our great Kansas roadways, arguably the best in the entire nation.

2. Will we ever get to zero fatalities? 
Through enhancements in vehicle safety, strict enforcement of highway laws by our LEO’s, and the continued traffic safety efforts of KDOT, I will always believe that is a possibility.  I know the Kansas Highway Patrol and all law enforcement agencies will continue to work in partnership with KDOT to make this a reality.

3. How does working a fatal crash affect you as a first responder?
Effects of a fatal crash can be found immediately as you begin to piece together your investigation.  In many cases, these effects will stay with you your entire career.  While at a fatality scene, there is so much information to gather as well as protocols to follow to complete a thorough investigation.  While doing all of this, you must also comprehend the loss of life and the absolute respect the deceased and their family deserve.  You could speak with any trooper and he will tell you the hardest part of our job is notifying a family of a death.  We obviously receive training on notifications, but no training prepares you for the pure emotion of that notification.
4. How do you know when someone is driving distractedly?
These days there are so many different distractions that are present.  Whether it be the GPS, radio, telephone, eating, or drinking, they are present in all our daily lives.  In many cases, vehicles weave within their lane of traffic and many times leave the lane of traffic entirely.  Often times, drivers are so distracted they do not even see us beside or behind them even when our emergency equipment is activated. 

5. What’s the craziest excuse you’ve heard from someone trying to get out of a ticket? 
I stopped a young lady early in my career for driving 75 mph in a 45 mph zone.  Upon identifying myself, she stated that she was heading to the hospital to see her mother.  While speaking with her I could smell an extremely strong odor of alcohol coming from her.  She was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.  Her blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit.  She later advised that her mother was not in the hospital and that she thought I would just let her go if she cried and told me that story.  

Five for Friday is an ongoing series featuring notable transportation figures.  If there is someone you would like to see featured, please recommend him or her in the comment box below.

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