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Kentucky’s roads are getting more dangerous

In this Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, file photo, emergency crews work the scene of a fatal crash...
In this Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, file photo, emergency crews work the scene of a fatal crash involving a charter bus and car on the AA highway in Campbell County, Ky. The number of U.S. traffic deaths in the first half of 2021 hit 20,160, the highest first-half total since 2006, the government reported Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.(Albert Cesare/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 5:20 PM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - In the first half of 2021, traffic fatalities increased 13% on Kentucky’s roads.

In 2020 traffic deaths increased 8% from 2019. Some Researchers, like Nick VinZant, a Senior Research Analyst at QuoteWizard, say it’s related to the pandemic.

“We continue to see traffic fatalities increase,” VinZant said. “Initially, when we looked at statistics last year we thought that this was going to be a momentary increase because of changes related to the pandemic and we thought that they would go back down in 2021. That did not happen. They continue to go up and that’s a surprise and it’s worrisome.”

VinZant found that younger drivers going too fast on less crowded roads are likely driving the increase.

“When the pandemic started we saw a drastic increase in speeding related deaths,” said VinZant. “What’s worrisome is that as we’ve gone forward traffic has started to pick back up and drivers have not changed those habits to accommodate the increase in traffic, and that’s why we’re seeing fatalities continue to rise.”

Where these fatal crashes occur is also changing.

“We saw a big increase, 10 to 15 percent in some cases, in urban highways and rural collector roads which are basically the funneling roads into the main rural highways.”

Kentucky State Police Trooper Matt Gayheart sees these accidents all too frequently.

”We hope for the best for all those incidents, but it takes a toll on you,” he said. “Especially one after another and we have had an uptick this year it seems like.”

With winter weather conditions approaching, Trooper Gayheart also wants to remind people to check their breaks, their car fluids and their tires.

”I would also encourage everybody to slow down, take their time, allow themselves plenty of extra time,” he said. “That way you don’t have to rush. That can also go a long way to making sure we all stay safe.”

Statewide 43 more people died in traffic accidents in 2021 than in 2020.

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