Driving is something that we don’t think much about. We get in the car, drive to work, drive to the store and run errands without giving it much thought. But the truth is, driving is not a risk-free activity. In fact, driving is likely the most dangerous thing an average person will do on a daily basis.
The worst-case scenario for drivers is getting into an accident causing serious, life-changing injuries – or losing a loved on in a fatal accident.
Fatal accidents are rare but not unheard of. What are recent trends in Kentucky regarding traffic-related fatalities?
There is slightly positive news for Kentucky: Traffic fatalities in 2021 decreased from 2020. But 2021’s numbers were worse than 2019 and 2018.
Here are the numbers of roadway fatalities by year, according to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety,
- 2021 traffic fatalities: 766
- 2020 traffic fatalities: 780
- 2019 traffic fatalities: 732
- 2018 traffic fatalities: 724
- 2017 traffic fatalities: 782
One interesting fact is that traffic fatalities in Kentucky were higher in 2020, despite a significant decrease in roadway traffic due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people drove less, stayed home more, began working from home, etc. Yet, traffic fatalities were higher.
While drunk driving is a huge concern, alcohol played a role in 15.1% of fatal accidents in Kentucky in 2021.
In 53.4% of these accidents, a seat belt was not worn. In 42.4% of accidents, a seat belt was worn. This reiterates the fact that seat belt use reduces the risk of suffering serious injury or death in an accident – as much as 45%, according to the CDC.
Neighboring Ohio did not fare as well: There was an increase in accident fatalities in Ohio in 2021.
Roadway safety affects us all. One distracted, drunk or otherwise negligent driver can affect lives forever. We all play a part in keeping our roadways safe.