KYTC Secretary Jim Gray says the number of unrestrained deaths in 2020 is particularly concerning.
(Frankfort, Ky.) – Highway fatalities in Kentucky increased in 2020.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety data shows there were 778 fatalities in 2020, compared to 732 in 2019.
That is a five percent increase.
Of the 778 fatalities last year in Kentucky, 57.1 percent were not wearing a seat belt and 15.7 percent involved alcohol.
Another 32 percent involved speeding or aggressive drivers and 19 percent involved driver distraction.
“2020 was a year of devastating loss for Kentuckians, but what makes deaths even harder to accept is when they could have been prevented,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “These figures are unacceptable to us and they should be unacceptable to every driver – every person -- in our state. We all have to be more vigilant about personal safety and responsibility behind the wheel if we are going to reverse this trend.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seat belt gives motorists the best chance of preventing injury or death if involved in a crash.
The KOHS is increasing efforts to encourage safe driving habits through localized media campaigns and partnerships, like Buckle Up, Phone Down and Click It or Ticket, law enforcement blitzes, and federal grant allocations to state and local highway safety-related agencies.
Governor Beshear’s 2021 recommended budget included historic safety investments, including $3 million to implement the Strategic Highway Safety Plan with an emphasis on aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving, occupant protection, roadway departure, and vulnerable road users.