Governor Kelly Proclaims Rural Road Safety Awareness Week

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly has proclaimed July 17-21 as Rural Road Safety Awareness Week (RRSAW) in Kansas to call attention to the high number of traffic fatalities on rural roads.

The weeklong observance is part of a nationwide campaign spearheaded by the National Center for Rural Road Safety and includes the participation of the Kansas Department of Transportation. With one of the main causes of rural crashes being speeding, this awareness campaign is driving home the need to slow down.

“Raising awareness about rural road safety will save lives and put the state of Kansas on the path to ‘Drive To Zero’ traffic deaths,” said Governor Kelly, referring to the state’s ongoing safety awareness initiative. “This safety campaign stresses the importance of obeying speed limits, never driving impaired, and wearing your seatbelt, every trip, every time.”

More than 40% of all traffic fatalities across the United States happen on rural roads each year. According to KDOT, 257 people were killed in Kansas rural road crashes in 2021. The unofficial number of 2022 rural road fatalities in Kansas is 239.

“Lives are on the line on every road in Kansas – from major expressways to gravel roads,” said KDOT Transportation Safety Bureau Chief Vanessa Spartan. “Speeding reduces your ability to react as well as the odds of surviving a crash. Hurrying to arrive a few seconds sooner is not worth it.”

Lack of seat belt use, impaired driving, distracted driving, and other areas that impact safety are also part of the focus of RRSAW. For more information, go to the National Center for Rural Road Safety website at

A copy of that proclamation can be found here.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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