Traffic deaths in Jefferson County spiked 28.7 percent in the last year, despite a decline in the rest of Kentucky.
In 2013, 85 people have died in traffic accidents in the county, with less than a week before year’s end, according to Kentucky State Police’s traffic statistics. Sixty-six people died in Jefferson County traffic accidents in 2012.
The increase has no single, specific reason, said Lt. Joe Seelye, traffic unit commander for Louisville Metro Police, which investigated all but a few of the accidents.
“Our driver inattention, speed and not using safety devices continue to be what plagues our numbers,” Seelye said. “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.”
Traffic deaths have declined 16 percent since 2012 in the rest of the state, according to KSP statistics.
LMPD’s traffic unit issued more citations than last year, Seelye noted, adding that “we can’t cite our way out of this issue.”
Here’s a five-year comparison:
Many of the pedestrians who died in traffic accidents were wearing dark, not-reflective clothing at night and were not crossing in a crosswalk, he noted.
Alcohol is a factor in about a quarter of Jefferson County accidents—which is also more than the rest of the state.
Police will focus enforcement on areas that appear to be where serious accidents happen, Seelye said. But he added that 2013′s fatal accidents have been “all over the place.”
“It makes it very challenging to meet those needs, so we really push the community to take care of themselves,” said Seelye, noting that police are speaking in students about the risks of not using seat belts and such.
Here’s a map of where each of Jefferson County’s fatal accidents in 2013 happened:
Here are the places where fatal accidents happened in 2012:
The data for the chart and maps comes from Kentucky State Police.
(Image via Shutterstock)