The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) today released final statistics for 2010. There were 760 fatalities last year, 31 fewer than in 2009 and the lowest total since 1999, when the death toll was 729. Fatalities declined for the fifth consecutive year.“The good news is that 31 fewer lives were lost,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “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.”
Gov. Beshear’s Executive Committee on Highway Safety is working to update and implement the state’s strategic highway safety plan, which focuses on four critical elements: engineering, education, enforcement and emergency response.
Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock, the governor’s designated highway safety representative and chair of the committee, said the data-driven, 2010-2014 comprehensive plan includes collaboration from stakeholders at every level — federal, state, local and private — to identify safety needs and guide investment decisions.
“If our effort results in just one life being saved, it will have been worth it”, Hancock said.
Of the 760 fatalities last year, 598 were in motor vehicles. Of those killed, 62.5 percent were not buckled up and 20 percent of fatalities involved alcohol. Motorcyclists accounted for 78 fatalities, with 57.7 not wearing helmets and 15.4 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involved alcohol.
“While the fatality decrease is an improvement, the numbers indicate many motorists still do not realize the responsibility that comes with a license,” said KOHS 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,” said 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.”