Local News

Fewer motorists died on Kentucky roads in 2013 than any other year in the past several decades, according to preliminary numbers from the state’s Office of Highway Safety.

KOHS director Bill Bell says 635 people died in roadway accidents last year. That’s a drop of more than 100 fatalities from the previous year.

The same success is not true in Jefferson County. As WFPL reported, there was a 33 percent increase in roadway fatalities locally last year.

But statewide, it’s the lowest number of fatalities since 1949, Bell says.

“We’ve had a gradual increase, a steady increase, in observed seatbelt usage. To prove that number out we look at the percentage of unbuckled fatalities,” he says.

Bell says the number of unbuckled fatalities in Kentucky has dropped below 50 percent. But that’s still higher than leading states like Maryland, which has a 38 percent unbuckled fatality rate. Bell also attributes the decrease in Kentucky to safe driving campaigns including the drunk driving and phone texting initiatives.

But Louisville Metro Police traffic officials attribute Jefferson County’s increase largely to motorists not using seat belts and other safety measures.

Bell says there were 75 days last year where no one lost their life in driving accidents. Final numbers will be presented in a report expected by April.