Louisville sees dramatic rise in fatal car wrecks, and local drivers may pay the price
There were three fatalities on Monday alone, and every driver in the city may soon be paying the price.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Nebraska man died after crashing a rental car into a semi truck on I-64.
The wreck happened around 11 p.m. Monday near the Watterson Expressway. Police said 29-year-old Derrick Carter was passing through Louisville with his girlfriend on their way home to Nebraska.
Investigators believe he didn't see stopped traffic before hitting the back of the semi. Carter was thrown from the car and his death underscores a much larger problem.
Louisville is seeing a significant rise in car wrecks. There were three fatalities on Monday alone, and every driver in the city may soon be paying the price.
The problem? Insurance.
"I don't care if I'm at home, on vacation -- and I've got my mobile app for a local station -- I hear a wreck, I'm thinking, 'Is it one of our customers?'" said Joan West of Kaiser Insurance Agency.
West brokers coverage agreements between customers and larger insurance companies like Progressive, Safeco and State Auto. After 40 years in the insurance business, West can see what is coming down the road.
"It's going to affect it," West said. "It's going to make rates go up."
According to LMPD traffic reports Louisville has seen 4,000 more wrecks so far this year than the same time period in 2014. The city currently averages 84 wrecks a day. Police can't pinpoint one singular cause but said in many cases, cell phones are to blame.
Louisville Metro Police Traffic Commander Joe Seelye says it's not just more wrecks -- it's more lives lost.
"It's saddening, frustrating and scary because I have kids that drive on the roadways here," Seelye said.
The latest killed was 73-year-old David Fleishcaker, who died in part of a three-vehicle wreck with a TARC bus. Phillip L. Foote, Jr., passed away hours before after an accident on Goldsmith Lane.
Seelye says fatalities involving motor vehicles, motorcycles and pedestrians are all on the rise in Louisville.
"We can't cite our way out of this," he said. "We can write 50,000 tickets a month, but at the end of the day, it's about personal behaviors."If insurance rates rise in the market as expected, you won't notice right away. Companies put a few extra dollars on your six-month or annual premium.
Louisville already ranks among the highest for auto insurance rates in the country. A 2014 report said Louisville drivers pay an average of $3,256 a year on premiums.
"I think it's a lot of our road structure, a lot of construction going on that causes more wrecks," explained West.
It's a cycle of crash, crunch and repeat -- a perfect storm on Louisville's streets.
"We can replace a car easily, but the lives and injuries are always hard," West said.
Louisville won a $300,000 grant last year to improve public safety with pedestrian and traffic safety education.
Copyright 2016 by WDRB Media. All rights reserved.