Lexington traffic data: More alcohol-involved crashes in April, even as total crashes sharply drop

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Traffic has begun to pick back up in Lexington as businesses continue to reopen.

For the past couple of months, though, drivers have seen less traffic and fewer crashes across the city. The Lexington Police Department's traffic and collision data for the month of March began to show that, particularly later in the month as more things shut down.

New police statistics just released for April, the first full month in which many people stayed 'healthy at home,' take those trends even further.

Among the notable findings for April:

  • There were 201 fewer total crashes in April than there were in March. April had 658 crashes, compared to 859 in March.

  • Total crashes in April 2020 (658) were down more than 50 percent from April 2019 (1,354).

  • Injury crashes also dropped by almost 50 percent. There were 166 injury crashes in April 2019 compared to 91 in April 2020.

  • Speed-related charges are down 95 percent. Police issued 1,614 speeding charges in April 2019, but only 79 in April 2020. However, speeding was listed as a factor in nearly twice the number of crashes (13 in April 2020, compared to seven in April 2019).

  • The report states that police made 310 traffic stops in April 2020. In April 2019 they made 4,147, according to the report.

Year-to-date through April:

  • Lexington Police report 4,016 total crashes from January, February, March and April 2020. That is down more than 20 percent from the same time period in 2019, when there were 5,080 crashes.

  • There were also 70 percent fewer fatal collisions YTD through April 2020 compared to 2019. That led to 12 fewer deaths this year (4) compared to the same time period last year (16).

  • Total traffic charges dropped from 17,236 (YTD 2019) to 10,703 (YTD 2020), while traffic stops dropped from 14,650 to 8,743.

On the other hand, crashes involving alcohol increased in April 2020 - one of the only categories to do so. Police reported six more alcohol-involved crashes (compared to the same month last year), even though there were 696 fewer total crashes (a drop of 50 percent). There were 31 alcohol-involved crashes in Lexington in April 2020, compared to 25 in April 2019.

Year-to-date through April, Lexington Police reported only five fewer alcohol-involved crashes than in the same time period the year before, even though there were more than 1,000 fewer total crashes (a 20 percent drop). There were 135 alcohol-involved crashes YTD 2019, compared to 130 YTD 2020 - even though total crashes decreased from 5,080 to 4,016.

Even though they have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, alcohol-involved crashes do still remain a small percentage of total crashes. Here's the breakdown:

  • March 2019: 2.94%

  • April 2019: 1.85%

  • YTD April 2019: 2.66%

  • March 2020: 3.73%

  • April 2020: 4.7%

  • YTD April 2020: 3.24%

It has been widely reported that alcohol sales increased as more people spent time at home during the coronavirus outbreak. A state revenue report shows that Kentuckians spent substantially more money on alcohol in April.