Kentucky highway fatalities declined for the fifth consecutive year and were the lowest since 1999, according to the state’s highway safety office.
The death toll was 760 last year, which was 31 fewer fatalities than the previous year. Fatal highway accidents peaked at 985 deaths in 2005.
“The good news is that 31 fewer lives were lost,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a news release. “The bad news is that people are still needlessly dying on Kentucky highways. We will not rest until the number is zero, because one fatality is one too many.”
Of those killed, 62 percent were not wearing seat belts and 20 percent of involved alcohol. Motorcyclists accounted for 78 fatalities, with 57 percent not wearing helmets and 15 percent of those crashes involving alcohol.
“While the fatality decrease is an improvement, the numbers indicate many motorists still do not realize the responsibility that comes with a license,” says Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Director Boyd Sigler. “We hope by combining our educational efforts with state and local law enforcement and other safety partners, we will continue to raise public awareness of laws and safe driving practices.”
The KOHS offers various highway safety educational programs to the public, distributes federal highway safety grants to state and local highway safety agencies, and promotes the annual “Click It or Ticket” seat belt campaign and “Over the Limit. Under Arrest” impaired driving campaign.
“We’re heading in the right direction, but we need the public’s help,” says Sigler. “Everyone must take responsibility and follow all traffic laws, such as wearing a seat belt, driving sober, not texting while driving and obeying the speed limit.”