In Kentucky, 321 people were killed in car accidents over the first six months of 2013. Over the same time period in 2014, there were 300 deaths in the state of Kentucky from January to June. In 2015, there were 326 deaths in Kentucky crashes in the first six months of the year. The number of crash deaths rose two percent from 2013 to 2015 and nine percent from 2014 to 2015 according to the National Safety Council.
These trends in Kentucky are similar to national trends. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 2014 was one of the safest years for car accident deaths, but warned 2015 data shows a troubling reverse to downward trends on car crash fatalities. NHTSA is urging motorists to take notice of the significant rise in fatality rates in 2015 and to consider the higher number of car crash deaths as a “call to action” to make improvements and changes next year.
Car Crash Fatality Rate Rises Significantly in 2014
In 2014, as compared with 2013, the fatality rate dropped slightly nationwide, just as it did in Kentucky. There was a .1 percent decline in deaths between 2013 and 2014 over the course of the entire year. The total number of people who died in collisions in 2014 was 32,675, with 21,022 Americans dying in vehicles. There were also 4,884 pedestrian deaths, 726 deaths of bicycle riders, and 1,565 motorcycle riders who died in 2014. The number of cyclists killed declined by 2.3 percent from 2013 to 2014, but pedestrians had a bad year. The rate of pedestrian deaths in 2014 was 3.1 percent higher than in the prior year.
In 2015, however, there was an increase in the total number of deaths. A total of 8.1 percent more people died nationwide in car crashes in 2015 according to preliminary data, as compared with the total number of deaths nationwide the prior year. Some of the increase can likely be explained by the fact more people were driving and people were driving longer distances. More drivers took to the roads and took longer trips due to the fact the economy is better and gas prices are lower.
The improving economy conditions and lower cost of driving, however, are not the only reason why more crashes happened in 2014. NHTSA also measures fatality rates, to better track safety trends and to get a clearer picture of whether more people die because there are simply more people on the roads or because the roads are less safe. In 2014, the fatality rate was 1.07 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled throughout the United States. Unfortunately in 2015, there was a 4.4 percent rise in fatality rates.
NHTSA warned drunk driving remains a significant problem, as impaired motorists were responsible for causing 9,967 fatalities in car crashes in 2014. Drivers should make an absolute commitment to sobriety when driving, as there is no reason 1/3 of car crashes in the United States should continue to be caused by impaired drivers.
Motorists can also take other steps to try to improve road safety in 2016, including avoiding speeding, distracted driving, or drowsy driving.