April 23, 2021

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Releases Preliminary Highway Fatality Count for 2020

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has released the preliminary numbers for highway fatalities in Kentucky last year.

According to the report KYTC’s Office of Highway Safety, the initial data indicates there were 778 fatalities in 2020, compared to 732 in 2019, a five percent increase.

“2020 was a year of devastating loss for Kentuckians, but what makes deaths even harder to accept is when they could have been prevented,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “These figures are unacceptable to us and they should be unacceptable to every driver – every person — in our state. We all have to be more vigilant about personal safety and responsibility behind the wheel if we are going to reverse this trend.”

Of the 778 highway fatalities last year in Kentucky, 57.1 percent were not wearing a seat belt and 15.7 percent involved alcohol. Approximately 32 percent involved speeding or aggressive drivers and 19 percent involved driver distraction. Pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 97 deaths and motorcyclists accounted for 74 deaths.

KYTC Secretary Jim Gray says the number of unrestrained deaths is particularly concerning, increasing by almost 6 percent compared to 2019.

“While numbers are important to identify potential issues and areas of concern, highway safety is not all about numbers – it’s about people,” said Gray. “These are fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers who left loved ones behind. These lives could have possibly been saved with the simple snap of a seat belt.”

The fatality figures will remain preliminary until all highway crash data is collected. A final report will be released in April.

So far in 2021, preliminary numbers indicate there have been 79 roadway deathsdown 5 compared to the same time last year.

Historical Kentucky highway fatality statistics:

  • 2000 823
  • 2001 843
  • 2002 915
  • 2003 931
  • 2004 964
  • 2005 985
  • 2006 913
  • 2007 864
  • 2008 826
  • 2009 791
  • 2010 760
  • 2011 721
  • 2012 746
  • 2013 638
  • 2014 672
  • 2015 761
  • 2016 834
  • 2017 782
  • 2018 724
  • 2019 732
  • 2020 778* preliminary