KSP: Seatbelts could have prevented a third of 2014 roadway fata - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KSP: Seatbelts could have prevented a third of 2014 roadway fatalities

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There have been 644 road fatalities in Kentucky in 2014. There have been 644 road fatalities in Kentucky in 2014.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky will end 2014 topping the previous year in car accident fatalities, but state police hope to turn the numbers around in the future.

Troopers hoped to keep the number of deaths under 600, but that's already been surpassed in 2014 and police say dozens could have been prevented.

Kentucky State Trooper Paul Blanton says nine more people have died on state roads this year compared to 2013.

There have been 644 fatalities. Of those, 498 were motor vehicle crashes and more than half -- 264 -- were not wearing a seat belt.

"Right now, the statistics tell us you're about four times more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a collision if you don't have a seat belt on," said Blanton.

Out of all of the crashes reported in the state, 50% involved distracted drivers.

"If you're not paying attention, you can suffer the consequences," Blanton said.

When it comes to deadly crashes, speeding, drugs and alcohol played more of a role than anything else.

Out of all the fatalities so far this year in Kentucky, 73 involved motorcycles, 53 were pedestrians, and 122 had something to do with alcohol.

"If somebody is not intoxicated,” said Blanton, “they're going to be less likely to be in any form of collision much less a fatal collision."

There are some big misconceptions about safe driving, including those who think not wearing a seatbelt can save your life.

"Often times,” said Blanton, “I hear teens or young people talk about hearing someone was involved in a wreck and that they didn't have a seatbelt on and they were thrown out of the vehicle and somebody told them that it saved their life. In 14 years in law enforcement, I've never been to that wreck."

If Trooper Blanton can get anything across to distracted and unsafe drivers, it's this:

“They'll never get to see their family of friends again,” he said. “and it's the people who get left behind they're the ones who have to deal with the consequences of somebody's actions; whether it's drinking and driving or not wearing their seat belt."

Troopers hope new safety campaigns and enforcement keep the fatalities under 600 next year.

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