Kentucky drivers who wear their seat belts, prioritize safety and have safety technology in their vehicles may help make roads safer in the years ahead. According to the Road to Zero Coalition, all of these elements could contribute toward eliminating traffic deaths by 2050. In the meantime, however, traffic fatalities are actually rising. Nearly 37,500 people died on American roads in 2016.
Fatalities occur too frequently on the highways of Kentucky and across the U.S. While traffic collisions can involve many factors, driver negligence is arguably the number one cause.
Car accident victims in Kentucky may be suffering from soft tissue injuries without knowing it. Injuries to soft tissue, which includes the muscles, ligaments and tendons, cannot be detected by X-ray. Therefore, a correct diagnosis can sometimes be difficult. Since symptoms often appear days after the incident, many victims choose to delay treatment.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding causes nearly as many deaths as drunk driving. Some safety advocates maintain that the only way to address the rise in traffic fatalities is to significantly enhance penalties for speeders. Drunk drivers face stiff sanctions when caught behind the wheel, and the director of the NTSB says speeders should do the same.
Kentucky residents may find some of the statistics outlined by President Donald J. Trump in a recent proclamation to be surprising. In his proclamation, President Trump declared December 2017 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The announcement included statistics showing that, on average, in the United States, one person dies in an alcohol-related car crash every 50 minutes. In 2016, alcohol-related accidents led to more than 10,000 fatalities, accounting for 28 percent of all traffic fatalities that year.
Thanksgiving may just be the deadliest holiday for Americans, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency's Fatality Analysis Reporting System showed that there were 764 fatal car crashes on Thanksgiving in 2012. There were only 654 fatal crashes on Christmas that year. Drivers in Kentucky may be wondering what contributes to this spike in the mortality rate every holiday season.
Long hours and nontraditional work schedules make Kentucky roads more dangerous, according to a study of night shift employees. Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital studied 16 people who work the night shift and found an increased risk for car accidents among the group.
Vehicle owners in Kentucky should know that a research paper published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that a vehicle's age affects the likelihood that its driver will perish in an accident. People who drive vehicles that are at least 18 years old have a 71 percent greater chance of dying in a crash than drivers of vehicles that are no more than three years old.
When drivers use their headlights at all times, studies have shown that the number of accidents drops by close to 10 percent overall. It also results in a 5.7 percent reduction in two-car crashes and a 23 percent reduction in motorcycle accidents involving vehicles going in the opposite direction. Finally, the number of accidents involving cars and pedestrians drops 12 percent when drivers use their headlights during the day. This is because cars are more visible even when it is clear and the sun is out.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 30 driver deaths per million vehicle registrations from 2011 to 2014. Kentucky motorists might be surprised to learn that trucks and SUVs actually performed better than the industry average. Pickup trucks had an average of 26 deaths per million registrations while SUVs had an average of 21 per million registrations.