State

Number of deaths on Kentucky roads rises nearly 10 percent

Emergency personnel worked at the scene of a multi-vehicle fatal wreck last November on the Mountain Parkway near the Slade exit.
Emergency personnel worked at the scene of a multi-vehicle fatal wreck last November on the Mountain Parkway near the Slade exit. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Last year, 834 people died on Kentucky highways, the state police and Kentucky Office of Highway Safety announced Thursday.

That’s up from 761 traffic deaths in 2015, a 9.6 percent increase. The most recent year when there were more than 800 traffic fatalities in Kentucky was 2008, when 826 people died.

Just over half of the people who died in crashes in 2016 were not wearing seat belts; 36 percent of the crashes involved speeding or aggressive drivers; and 23 percent of the wrecks involved driver distraction. Alcohol was a factor in 17 percent of the cases.

Ninety of the people killed were riding motorcycles, and 60 percent of those people were not wearing helmets.

“We are greatly concerned with the number of people who lost their lives on our roadways,” Noelle Hunter, executive director of the state highway safety office, said in a news release. “These figures are unacceptable to us, and they should be unacceptable to every driver — every person — in our state. We all have to be much more vigilant about personal safety and personal responsibility behind the wheel if we are going to reverse this trend.”

So far, there have been 210 roadway fatalities in Kentucky this year, according to the highway safety office.

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