Lower gas prices likely a factor in more deadly crashes - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Lower gas prices likely a factor in more deadly crashes

(KFVS) - Lower gas prices could be a factor in why Kentucky is seeing more deadly crashes than last year.

Kentucky traffic fatality numbers are on tract to edge above the 2013 fatality count.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Spokesman Keith Todd says a number of factors are likely responsible for the upturn, but lower gasoline prices is likely a player in the higher numbers.

"Cheaper gas means more people driving more miles, creating the opportunity for more crashes," Todd said in a news released. "When gas prices were higher folks were likely limiting their driving miles and that helped to drive down fatalities."

KYTC credits increased use of safety belts, safety-design features in newer vehicles, and stepped up police enforcement, for a downward trend in deadly crashes in recent years. However, crashes attributed to distracted drivers have been on the upswing due to the use of cell phones.

As of Christmas Eve, there had been 632 highway deaths in 2014. That compares to 628 for the same date last year. The end of year total for 2013 was 638, putting fatalities within six of going over last year's number with just a week to go until the new year.

KYTC crews have also worked on new construction projects and maintenance efforts to increase safety.

Todd also reminds people of the importance of wearing their seatbelt.

About 60 percent of the crash victims killed this year were not wearing a safety belt. Kentucky has been averaging about a dozen fatalities a week through the year.

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