Fewer people died on Kentucky highways this year than through the same time period in 2010.

As of Wednesday, the Kentucky State Police recorded 701 fatalities in 2011, compared to 750 through the same date in 2010.

There were 771 in 2009, 797 in 2008 and 845 in 2007.

"Kentucky over the last several years has experienced fewer deaths on our highways than in previous years, and 2011 is no different," Kentucky State Police spokesman David Jude said.

"There are several reasons for that, which include our educational efforts, our enforcement efforts and engineering efforts," Jude said. "However, the largest credit goes to the driving public, because when they make changes in their behaviors and attitudes toward driving their vehicles, we see great changes in safety, which leads to a reduction in collisions, injuries and fatalities."

The most significant change in driving habits is that more drivers are paying attention to the road and have become more aware of distracted driving, which leads to accidents, Jude said.

"Distracted driving is really on people's minds and it's starting to make a difference," he said about driver awareness of the dangers of drunken driving and texting while driving.

State police have been operating an enhanced traffic enforcement period dubbed "Drive sober or get pulled over," which began Dec. 16 and runs through Monday in an effort to reduce collisions and fatalities.

Of all the fatalities reported statewide through Dec. 14, alcohol was a contributing factor in 114 highway deaths, according to a release from KSP.

During the holiday period, KSP Post 3 in Bowling Green is conducting road checks in Warren and surrounding counties. Drivers who encounter a road check should be prepared to show a driver's license, proof of insurance and registration receipts.

In Warren County, road checks will be scattered along U.S. 31-W, Ky. 101, Ky. 185, Smallhouse Road, Beech Bend Road, Garvin Lane, Boiling Springs Road and other locations.

Road checks will also be conducted on points along U.S. 31-W, Ky. 100, Ky. 73 and other spots in Simpson County.

Allen County motorists could encounter road checks on U.S. 31-E, Ky. 100, Ky. 101, Ky. 98 and other locations. In Barren County, road checks will be set up on U.S. 31-W, U.S. 31-E, U.S. 68, Ky. 70 and other roads.

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