Louisville’s 33-Percent Traffic Death Spike, By the Numbers

At the end of 2013, Kentucky’s traffic fatality rate was the lowest since 1947. 

But Louisville—and the rest of Jefferson County—was an outlier. As I reported last week, Jefferson County traffic deaths spiked in 2013. 

In 2012, 66 people died in Jefferson County traffic accidents.

In 2013, the final number of Jefferson County traffic deaths is 88—a 33-percent spike.

Here’s what Lt. Joe Seelye, commander of Louisville Metro Police’s traffic unit, told me:

“Our driver inattention, speed and not using safety devices continue to be what plagues our numbers. For instance, when you look at seat belt usage across the state, our community unfortunately does not wear them as often as (in) other jurisdictions throughout the state.”

In that interview last month, Seelye was particularly urgent about the need for people to use seatbelts.  That, he said, would help a good deal.

He noted that people often have assumptions about traffic deaths that don’t always  conform to reality. For example, people often believe that interstate driving is particularly dangerous. 

But most traffic deaths in Louisville didn’t happen on interstates. (Though Interstate 65 had several.) Here’s a final map of where traffic deaths happened in Jefferson County, using data from Kentucky State Police. Click on the dots for information about each specific accident:

(It should be noted: These statistics are for all of Jefferson County, not just LMPD’s jurisdiction. A handful of traffic deaths were investigated by suburban police departments.)

Here’s the data on those 88 fatal accidents broken down a little further:

So we could say that a typical fatal crash in Jefferson County happened during the daytime on a dry road on a clear day. And in May.

With 14, May had the largest number of traffic accidents in 2013. September had 10; August had nine. Ferbruary had the fewest, with three.

In only one accident did multiple people die. Besides those victims, 43 people were injured in these 87 accidents.

But not all of 2013′s traffic data is gloomy.

In all traffic accidents, 8,215 people were injured in 2013 traffic accidents in Jefferson County, according to Kentucky State Police statistics.

That’s fewer than 2012, when 8,246 people were injured.

And total traffic accidents declined, too. Jefferson County had 31,226 in 2012, and 30,193 in 2013, according to KSP statistics.

And, as of Thursday evening, Jefferson County had no traffic fatalities in 2014.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Joseph Lord

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

@joseph_Lord

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