Motor vehicle accident data can help state and city officials develop a plan to make roads safer for all drivers, which is why it’s important to analyze the most recent accident statistics for Kentucky, and specifically, Lexington. When you take a closer look at the data, you can avoid more dangerous roads in favor of those that tend to see fewer accidents and you can figure out if the state’s roads are safer now or in the past.
The Pandemic Isn’t Over, But Traffic Doesn’t Care
Even though it appears that much of the country has come through the worst of the pandemic, it’s not really over. There are still pockets of infection all over and people are still testing positive. But, traffic has essentially returned to pre-pandemic levels across the nation, including in Kentucky. Unfortunately, this means that the lower numbers of accidents we saw in 2020 are also a thing of the past.
While the accident totals are only a bit higher (11,898 in 2021 compared to 11,819 in 2020 in Lexington), the fatality totals are expected to be much higher. As of December 1, 2021, there were 725 fatalities due to traffic accidents compared to 727 at that same point in 2020. Projections are that when all is said and done, the number of fatalities in Kentucky in 2021 will be much higher than in 2020.
The numbers in Lexington alone bear this out, as there were 36 fatalities on Lexington roads in 2021 compared to just 21 in 2020. This is a massive increase and is even more than the 29 fatalities in 2019 before the pandemic ever hit. When comparing traffic levels, 2021 was more in line with 2019, so even throwing out the low number of fatalities in 2020, there are still significantly more in 2021.
Why Are Motor Vehicle Accident Fatalities Increasing?
There are several factors behind the increase in fatalities, but surprisingly one leads back to those near-empty streets in 2020. While millions of Americans were quarantined in their homes, there were others who still had to travel the roads every day. They got used to speeding down these quiet streets and highways, passing through the extremely light traffic with minimal risk.
Unfortunately, these drivers normalized speeding wherever they went and have not yet broken this habit. As a result, these high speeds are causing more severe accidents that include more fatalities. Until people begin driving with caution again, these numbers will likely keep increasing.
Another factor in the increase in fatalities is that newer vehicles are heavier and more capable of speed than ever before. This is a bad combination, since a car’s speed and mass is directly linked to the damage severity when a car hits another object. Even if a car’s heft makes you feel safer, it’s not necessarily going to protect you in a collision, especially if you hit something stationary or a vehicle that weighs more than yours.
The data doesn’t lie. Kentucky roads are not safer than they were before the pandemic, and in fact, might be a little worse. As a driver, you must take care whenever you hit the road to ensure you don’t become a statistic.