So far in 2022, preliminary numbers indicate there have been 175 highway deaths
FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Highway fatalities in Kentucky increased by 26 last year over 2020, according to figures released Monday by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety and Kentucky State Police.
Data indicates there were 806 fatalities in 2021, compared to 780 in 2020 – a 3.3 percent increase.
“While many drivers are dedicated to making safe choices behind the wheel, seeing more people lose their lives on our roadways is concerning,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Failing to click a seat belt or turn over the keys after drinking, has impacted the lives of grieving Kentucky families whose loved one could have been spared from these preventable deaths. We all must be vigilant to practice safe behaviors to reverse this trend.”
Of the 806 highway deaths last year in Kentucky, 54.7% were not wearing a seat belt and 15% involved alcohol. Around 26% involved speeding or aggressive drivers and 15% involved driver distraction. Pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 85 deaths and motorcyclists accounted for 88 deaths.
“While numbers are important to identify potential issues and areas of concern, highway safety is not all about numbers, it’s about people,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “Reaching our goal of zero traffic deaths in Kentucky is a challenge, but we remain committed to making roadway safety improvements and working with our local, state and federal partners to move the needle.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of the most effective ways to help reduce highway traffic deaths is to combine public awareness campaigns with high-visibility enforcement efforts.
“The last thing we want to do is make a death notification, so if we can potentially save a life by writing a ticket, we’ll do it,” said KSP Capt. Paul Blanton. “At the end of the day, we want everyone to make it home safely.”
The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety partners with the KSP, along with county and city law enforcement agencies throughout the state in awareness campaigns and enforcement blitzes, such as Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, Buckle Up Phone Down and Click It or Ticket.
In addition, safety officials say wearing a seat belt gives drivers and passengers the best chance of preventing injury or death if involved in a crash. Properly fastened seat belts contact the strongest parts of the body, such as the chest, hips and shoulders. A seat belt spreads the force of a crash over a wide area of the body, putting less stress on any one part, and allows the body to slow down with the crash, extending the time when the crash forces are felt by the occupant.
So far in 2022, preliminary numbers indicate there have been 175 highway deaths, down 16 compared to the same time last year.