A study published last month by the University of Kentucky’s Kentucky Transportation Center looked at state traffic data covering the five-year period from 2009 to 2013. Crash rates were calculated for different types of highways and by city and county. The goal was to determine average crash statistics and identify problem areas.
Jefferson County Ranks High in Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Rates
When data was compared by county, Jefferson County had the highest rate of accidents that involved pedestrians. Reports from police data show that cars struck and killed 71 pedestrians in Jefferson County from 2009-13. Unfortunately, this year already is on pace to reach the highest level of pedestrian deaths in one year, which was 24, killed in 2008.
Jefferson County also posted the second highest rate for vehicle collisions with bicyclists. For that five-year period, there were 706 bike-related crashes, which works out to 1.9 collisions per 10,000 people. Jefferson was second to Fayette County, which had the highest rate of bicycle-involved crashes at 2.1 per 10,000 people.
The county had over 25,000 crashes with a fatality or injury, which is higher than the average rate for other large counties. This is a serious enough problem to be categorized as a “critical” crash rate.
Is this a trend for Jefferson County? One good piece of news was that the total number of accidents, 28,503, was down in 2013 by about 800 crashes from 2012. But totals remain higher than crash levels from 2009 and 2010.
In Kentucky overall, the report found that “The fatal crash rate on rural, two-lane roadways is much higher than any road type.”
The influence of alcohol in accidents is declining. The total number of alcohol-involved collisions was down in 2013 over the prior four -year average; the total has continually decreased from levels posted before 1996. Study authors said this decline could be attributed to increased presence of law enforcement and campaigns to increase awareness.
Drugs played a role in only about 13 percent of all accidents in the state during the 2009-2013 period. However, there were 29 counties that had drug-related crashes at twice or more the state average. Eight of those counties are in the southeastern part of the state, where drugs were involved in more than 5 percent of accidents.