Highway fatalities in Kentucky increased last year, according to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) and Kentucky State Police (KSP). There were 761 fatalities in 2015, 89 more than 2014. “The number of fatalities during 2015 will not discourage our agency from striving ‘Toward Zero Deaths’ in the future,” said Tpr. Kendra Wilson. “We are utilizing real-time, digital traffic data to identify high crash corridors and increasing patrols and enforcement efforts in those areas.” Of the 761 fatalities last year, 51 percent were not buckled up and 18.7 percent involved alcohol. More than 36 percent involved speeding or aggressive drivers. Motorcyclists accounted for 80 fatalities, with 65 percent not wearing helmets. “KSP wants to remind motorists not to become complacent when it comes to highway safety,” said Tpr Wilson. “We are vigilant in enforcing seat belt laws and will continue targeting impaired, aggressive and distracted drivers who endanger the lives of others.”
Mild winter weather and lower gas prices during the last quarter of the year led to increased traveling on Kentucky roadways and are considered to be contributing factors in the fatality increase. Bill Bell, KOHS executive director, said there were some encouraging trends in 2015 on which to build. Because more motorists took responsibility for their driving habits, there were 59 days last year in which no one lost a loved one on our roadways,” Bell said. “We are committed to focusing our efforts until that number of zero-death days reaches 365.” Until then, KOHS will analyze highway data to identify existing issues and attempt to predict future problems. So far in 2016, preliminary numbers indicate there have been 151 roadway fatalities – down from 173 compared to the same time last year.