3:18pm

Tue June 5, 2012
The Commonwealth

State Police Concerned About Highway Fatality Rate

Frankfort - Kentucky State Police are worried about the state's highway fatality rate for 2012. That's because the fatality rate is running much higher than 2011's rate. Through June 3, KSP said 305 people have died this year on Kentucky roads. That's 41 more than reported during the same period last year. Of the 305 deaths this year, 253 were the result of motor vehicle accidents. And of those, 148 people were not using seat belts. That means 58 percent of wreck victims were not using seat belts, according to state police statistics.

In an effort to control the recent spike in highway deaths, state police have created a summer driving campaign that evaluates several causes of highway crashes.

KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer said the agency implemented the multi-faceted approach to address the increasing number of fatalities on Kentucky roadways. KSP will utilize high visibility patrols in crash corridors and safety check points combined with a public awareness campaign to reach the motoring public.

“We are seeing a climb in crashes, injuries and deaths on our highways and many of these tragedies could have been prevented if drivers had taken the necessary precautions,” Brewer said in a KSP news release.

"Distracted driving is the number one cause of crashes in Kentucky and it has deadly consequences," Brewer said. "Our goal is to inform drivers about the importance of having a safe vehicle, an alert driver and the need for all passengers to take extra safety precautions when they get behind the wheel."

KSP has developed a checklist that will be distributed to drivers at safety check points with information about getting their vehicles road ready for summer travel. The agency also plans to utilize social media platforms to blast out safe driving tips.

KSP has designed a Safe Driving Pledge form that troopers will distribute at festivals, fairs and community forums challenging drivers to refrain from unsafe driving behaviors.

KSP Public Affairs Branch Commander Lt. David Jude, says the agency

KSP will strategically pinpoint "hot spot" areas where crashes are more prevalent by utilizing the KyOPS system (Kentucky’s Open Portal Solution), Lt. David Jude, KSP's public affairs branch commander, said.

“This state of the art database can pinpoint high crash locations by road, mile point, time of day, crash causation, human factor indicators and more,” Jude said. “From this data, we can provide each post with a digital imprint of where crashes are occurring, so they can specifically target those areas with high visibility enforcement.”

“These are not just statistics to us,” Jude said in the state police news release. “These are human lives. Everyday a family is dealing with the loss of a loved one due to a senseless, yet preventable highway crash.”

Citizens can contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Kentucky State Police toll-free at 1-800-222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.