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Traffic deaths in Kentucky declined in 2010, state police say

Traffic deaths in Kentucky continued a downward trend in 2010, to a preliminary total of 747, Kentucky State Police announced Monday.

That was down from 791 in 2009. The 2010 total could go up if state police receive reports of additional deaths from other law-enforcement agencies.

There were three traffic fatalities during the New Year's holiday period, according to preliminary reports.

Alcohol was involved in 151 of the traffic deaths in 2010, down from 203 the year before, state police said.

The number of traffic deaths in Kentucky climbed for several years in the early 2000s, hitting a high of 985 in 2005, according to state police.

The total has dropped every year since.

State police credit a number of factors for the decrease, including enforcement and education efforts and changes in laws, said Lt. David Jude, spokesman for the agency.

However, the public also plays an important role, he said.

"If the public doesn't take note of the number of people dying on Kentucky's roadways and make efforts to reduce that rate, we would not see the six-year decrease that we have had," Jude said.