January 9, 2014
FRANKFORT — Highway fatalities in Kentucky declined in 2013 to their lowest level in 64 years.
Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) preliminary figures indicate 635 people lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during the year, down from 746 in 2012. It was the lowest total since 1949, when 573 fatalities were recorded.
Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock, who is Gov. Steve Beshear’s designated representative for highway safety, said saving lives and reducing serious injuries is a top priority of the administration.
“We are encouraged by the reduction in fatalities, but firmly believe that one fatality is too many,” Hancock said. “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.”
The Executive Committee includes representatives of 18 highway safety agencies and organizations such as the KOHS, Kentucky State Police, federal highway agencies, local law enforcement and emergency services. Its goal is to work cooperatively to update and implement Kentucky’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan – “Toward Zero Deaths.”
KOHS Director Bill Bell said there were 75 days in 2013 that had zero fatalities.
“Because more motorists took responsibility for their driving habits, there were 75 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, Bell said, the KOHS will analyze highway data to identify existing issues and attempt to predict future problems.
“We’ll continue to promote seat belt usage and the dangers of drunken and distracted-driving crashes,” Bell said. “We’ll also increase our focus on pedestrian safety, motorcycle safety, mature drivers, drugged driving and booster seat safety.”
The figures will remain classified as preliminary until all highway crash data is collected. A final report is expected by April.