Kentucky sees decrease in traffic fatality rate
Carroll, Trimble both have fewer fatalities in 2013 compared to 2012
Thursday, January 09, 2014 10:00 AM
Kentucky had the lowest traffic fatality rate in the last 64 years during 2013, a decrease officials attribute to awareness, education and enforcement.
Fatalities from traffic accidents were down across the state by 111 - the fewest since 1949 - according to preliminary data released by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety. Figures from the Kentucky State Police and Kentucky Office of Highway Safety showed 635 people died on roadways throughout the year, a drop from 746 in 2012.
Kentucky highway officials recorded 573 deaths from traffic accidents across the state in 1949.
The decreased trend of traffic fatalities held true for the local area last year too. Carroll County only had half of the fatalities in 2013 compared to the year before. State police reported six fatalities in 2012 and three in 2013.
Trimble County only had one fatality reported in 2013. Five had been reported in 2012.
According to the data for 2013 released by KSP, 494 of the 635 fatalities statewide resulted from vehicle-to-vehicle or single-vehicle crashes. The other fatalities involved motorcycles, pedestrians, ATVs, cyclists or animal-drawn vehicles.
Of those 494 deaths, 244 fatalities happened while occupants were not wearing a seatbelt.
The data also showed 72 fatalities statewide resulted from crashes with motorcycles and another 57 deaths involved pedestrians and bicyclists.
Records showed 138 people died in accidents where the use of alcohol was involved in 2013 compared with 145 in 2012.
State police credited enforcement campaigns like "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" for the decrease in impaired drivers on the road and the decrease in fatalities. KSP also credited increased police presence on the roadways during one of the most danger times of the year for fatal accidents - the New Year holiday.
KSP spokesman Sgt. Michael Webb said in December five fatalities had been reported during the 2012 New Year holiday, with three of those deaths caused by alcohol-related accidents.
No fatalities were reported during the holiday in 2013, state police said.
The state's transportation secretary Mike Hancock said saving lives and reducing serious injuries are top priorities for Kentucky officials.
"We are encouraged by the reduction in fatalities, but firmly believe that one fatality is too many," Hancock said in a release. "The Governor's Executive Committee on Highway Safety is committed to providing direction on traffic safety issues as we move 'Toward Zero Deaths' on Kentucky's roadways."
Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Director Bill Bell said there were 75 days in 2013 where there were zero fatalities on the roadways, which he credited to more motorists taking responsibility for their driving habits.
Bell also credited the analysis of highway data for identifying existing issues on roadways and attempting to predict future problems.
"We'll continue to promote seat belt usage and the dangers of drunken and distracted-driving crashes," Bell said in the release. "We'll also increase our focus on pedestrian safety, motorcycle safety, mature drivers, drugged driving and booster seat safety."
Six traffic fatalities have already been reported for 2014 as of Tuesday, according to state police. Five of those deaths have been from motor vehicle accidents, while one pedestrian has been killed.