As summer arrives and Kentuckians take to the roads for vacations and outdoor activities, drivers need to be careful to avoid car wrecks and other motor vehicle accidents. Holiday weekends are especially dangerous, and the Independence Day and Labor Day holidays were the two deadliest in Kentucky in 2011 according to the Kentucky State Police 2011 Report of Traffic Collision Facts. The report shows that in 2011, 335 people were injured over the Independence Day holiday and 327 people were injured over the Labor Day holiday. A total of 24 deaths occurred over the two holidays compared to 20 deaths during all the other holidays combined.
The personal injury attorneys at Varellas & Varellas have represented victims of car accidents for decades and have seen many sad cases of clients seriously injured in summertime crashes. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that summer is a carefree time when roads are clear and safe and driving safety is less important because the statistics paint an entirely different picture.
Although drivers understand that roadways that are wet or covered with snow, ice or slush create dangerous driving conditions, the Report of Traffic Collision Facts shows that the large majority of all collisions and all fatal collisions in 2011 occurred on dry roads. According to the Report, 71.7% of all collisions and 79.6% of fatal collisions happened on dry roadways. The data also reveals that 79% of all collisions occurred on straight roads while 21% occurred on curved roads.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database which provides information on all vehicle crashes involving a fatality which occur on a public roadway in the United States. Although the FARS database does not include information on motor vehicle accidents that involve serious personal injury such as paralysis, broken bones or head and spine injuries, the database provides compelling information regarding fatal accidents in the United States and each of the individual states.
The most recent data available is for 2011 and comparisons can be made to 2010. The fatal accidents increased from 2010 to 2011 in numerous Kentucky counties including Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Garrard, Mercer, Oldham, Powell, and Pulaski. The counties with the largest increases in fatalities were Anderson (100%), Floyd (100%), Hancock (200%), Hickman (500%), Lewis (200%), Marshall (125%), Monroe (100%), Morgan (150%), Owen (500%), Rockcastle (700%), Spencer (133%), Taylor (800%), and Trimble (100%).
Fatal accidents went down in 2011 in numerous Kentucky counties including Boyd, Franklin, Grant, Harrison, Henry, Jefferson, Jessamine, Madison, Montgomery, Pike, Scott, Shelby, and Whitley counties. The greatest decreases occurred in Bell (-71%), Breckinridge (-67%), Gallatin (-60%), Laurel (-58%), Lee (-75%), Lincoln (-67), and Woodford (-50%) counties.
The chances of being involved in a traffic accident or suffering a serious physical injury or death in a collision can be minimized if drivers keep in mind the factors that are most likely to contribute to a collision. The Kentucky State Police 2011 Report of Traffic Collision Facts lists the most frequent contributing factors in the following order:
• Not Under Proper Control
• Failed to Yield Right of Way
• Misjudged Clearance
• Following Too Close
• Too Fast for Conditions
• Alcohol Involvement
• Disregard Traffic Control
Not having the vehicle under proper control was a contributing factor for the highest number of fatal collisions, while inattention was second and alcohol involvement was third.
Make sure all the drivers in your family are aware of the factors likely to contribute to motor vehicle accidents and that they take extra precautions to drive safely during the summer months.