Highway fatalities in Kentucky show decrease in 2022

Published 10:23 am Thursday, April 13, 2023

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Highway fatalities in Kentucky decreased last year for the first time since 2018, according to data released Wednesday by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety, and Kentucky State Police.

The data indicates there were 744 fatalities in 2022, compared to 806 in 2021, amounting to a 7.6% drop.  While the 62-fatality reduction from 2021 demonstrates a positive step, state highway safety officials are continuing to encourage drivers to practice safe driving behaviors to prevent avoidable deaths.

“The decrease in highway fatalities is an encouraging sign of what I hope will be a downward trend for years to come,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.  “While we are thankful, one fatality is one too many and we grieve with those who lost loved ones last year on our roadways. To avoid losing more Kentuckians on our highways, we must remain vigilant by practicing safe behaviors, like buckling up and putting the phone down.”

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Of the 744 highway fatalities last year in Kentucky, 57% were not wearing a seat belt and 15 involved alcohol.  Approximately 33% involved speeding or aggressive drivers and 20 percent involved driver distraction. Pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 109 deaths and motorcyclists accounted for 99 deaths.

“Highway safety is about more than numbers, it’s about people,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Gray.  “We will continue to work toward our goal of zero traffic deaths on Kentucky roadways through infrastructure improvements and partnerships with state agencies and the public.”

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 notify someone that their loved one has been in a fatal crash, 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 KOHS partners with KSP, 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,” the “Not So Fast, KY” speed campaign, and “Click It or Ticket.”

So far in 2023, preliminary numbers indicate 169 roadway deaths, down 13 compared to the same time last year.