FRANKFORT, KY (7/1/13) – In an effort to raise awareness of traffic safety laws and encourage safe driving habits, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is partnering with state and local law enforcement on the “Blue Lights Across the Bluegrass” campaign throughout July.
“We are concerned with our current highway fatality numbers,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock. “The year started with a reduction, but June ended with a higher number of crashes compared to the same time period last year, and that trend must not continue.”
There were 65 fatalities in June 2012 compared to 73 in June 2013. There have been 310 total highway fatalities as of July 1 – 62 fewer than the same time period last year. Half of those killed were not wearing seat belts, 20 percent involved an impaired driver and 70 percent of those killed in motorcycle crashes were not wearing a helmet.
“With the summer travel season, more people are on our roadways, which might explain the slight increase in June,” said KOHS Director Bill Bell. “However, it does not explain why people are not making safe decisions when they get behind the wheel.”
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that seat belts, when worn correctly, reduce the risk of fatalities by 45 percent for front-seat vehicle occupants, and by 60 percent for pickup truck, SUV and minivan occupants. Also according to NHTSA, regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect against and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.
“Seat belts clearly save lives, but unfortunately too many motorists still need a tough reminder of our law,” said Hancock.
While officers will patrol all roadways in their designated city or county, a special emphasis will be placed on the areas where the majority of crashes have occurred.
“Law enforcement will be out in force, citing anyone committing traffic violations,” said Bell. “Whether you drive a car or motorcycle, you must obey the law.”
Kentucky’s roadway fatalities increased for the first time in seven years, going from 721 deaths in 2011 to 746 in 2012. More than half of those killed in motor vehicles were not restrained, 20 percent involved an impaired driver and 53 percent were motorcyclists not wearing a helmet.
Total Highway Fatalities
Information provided by Erin Eggen (KY Transportation Cabinet)
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