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Kentucky Office of Highway Safety






"To support effective and collaborative partnerships to advance traffic safety awareness, education, and enforcement in an effort to save lives on Kentucky roadways."

 The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety works specifically to save lives by reducing Kentucky’s highway crashes, injuries, and fatalities through relevant data-driven, outcomes-based approaches and effective program delivery.



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Contact:  Erin Eggen
Office of Highway Safety

 (502) 330-4198


For Immediate Release


Everyone is a Pedestrian
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 12, 2020) – Even if you usually drive to your destination, everyone is a pedestrian at some point – maybe walking your child across the street to the bus stop or walking to a grocery store down the road to buy dinner. That means each of us has a personal reason for wanting to keep our streets safe for all who use them. 


In a crash between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is far more likely to be killed or injured. For this reason, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in October for National Pedestrian Safety Month.


"We are called to treat others the way we would want to be treated, and that means being as cautious when you are a driver as you would want other drivers to be when you or your children are pedestrians," said Gov. Andy Beshear. "Common-sense habits, especially putting your phone down while driving or walking, can save dozens of Kentuckians' lives every year."


"We're asking both motorists and pedestrians to practice safe behaviors while driving and walking in order to prevent crashes, injuries and deaths on our roadways," said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray. "It's a shared responsibility that helps all road users arrive at their destinations safely." 

According to NHTSA, approximately 17 percent of people killed in roadway-related incidents are pedestrians, which equates to one every 84 minutes. 

KOHS Acting Executive Director Jason Siwula says a common theme for both pedestrians and motorists is distraction.

"It has unfortunately become all too common to see both drivers and pedestrians distracted by using a cell phone," said Siwula. "No matter if you are walking or driving, putting away your phone should be automatic. No one is able to safely interact with other road users while distracted."

Staying alert is especially important as the end of Daylight Saving Time approaches and it gets dark earlier.  According to NHTSA, most crash-related pedestrian fatalities occur at night.

"Adjusting to the new low-light environment can take time, and that puts everyone – especially pedestrians – at greater risk of death or injury," said Siwula. "Wearing bright, reflective clothing will help keep pedestrians visible."


Last year in Kentucky there were 74 pedestrian deaths; 60 occurred after dark.  So far this year, there have been 56 pedestrian deaths, 40 of which occurred after dark.


"There are many actions that both pedestrians and motorists can take in order to share the road safely," said Siwula.  "Remember – everyone is a pedestrian. If we all work together, we can save lives."


The KOHS and NHTSA recommend the following:


  1. Use crosswalks when available.  Avoid jaywalking and crossing between parked vehicles. 
  2. Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If you must walk on the street, walk facing traffic.
  3. Don't depend on the traffic signal to protect you. Motorists may be distracted, especially when adjusting to the nighttime travel environment.
  4. Increase visibility, especially at night. Carry a flashlight, wear reflective clothing or attach reflective materials - such as fluorescent tape - to clothing, backpacks, purses and briefcases. These materials reflect light from headlights back to drivers, making it easier to see you.
  5. Just because you can see a motorist does not mean the motorist can see you. If you cannot make eye contact or do not see the driver slow down for you, wait until the vehicle passes, even if you have the right of way.
  6. Pay attention.  Distraction changes the way you walk, react and behave, including safety-related behaviors.
  7. Use caution if intoxicated. While you may be doing the right thing by not drinking and driving, risk still exists. Alcohol and drugs affect judgment, balance and reaction time, so always make a plan for a safe ride home.


  1. Put the phone down and pay attention.  Driving while distracted increases risk for all road users.
  2. Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Be especially careful at intersections when turning onto another street.
  3. Keep your windshield, windows and mirrors clean so you can scan the road ahead and establish a "visual lead."
  4. Obey the speed limit.  Driving at the posted limit allows you to see, identify and react in time to brake for pedestrians.
  5. Slow down and turn on your headlights during evening hours when you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
  6. Be aware in neighborhoods and school zones. Children are often the smallest pedestrians, making them harder to see. Additionally, younger children may dart into intersections without understanding the dangers.
  7. Drive sober.  As with pedestrians, alcohol and drugs affect judgment, balance and reaction time. Always make a plan for a safe ride home.
  8. Buckle up.  Wearing a seat belt gives you the best protection against injury and death.


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Before Handing Over the Keys, Make Sure Your Teen Knows Rules for the Road

 National Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 18-24

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2020) –  The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is helping empower parents to talk with their young drivers about the importance of driving safely. They are joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in their efforts during National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct.18-24.

"I want our roads to be safe for all Kentuckians, including our youngest drivers. In just a few years, I'll be teaching my own kids how to drive, which is scary to think about for any parent," said Gov. Andy Beshear. "However, I know that by supporting my daughter and son and staying involved in their learning, I'll be able to keep them and the people around them safer. I hope all Kentucky parents take an active role in teaching and encouraging safe driving and that our teens understand how big this responsibility is."

"Parents have a strong influence on their teens, even as they grow older and become more independent," said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray.  "Because they are new to driving, teen drivers are a potential danger to themselves and to other drivers, which is why it is so important that parents take time to discuss safe driving practices with their teens."

According to NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Per mile driven, teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

Over the past three years in Kentucky, there were more than 63,000 crashes involving a teenage driver, resulting in more than 16,000 injuries and more than 200 fatalities. 

"Laws are not enough to protect these young drivers. We need parents to set the rules before handing over the car keys," said KOHS Acting Executive Director Jason Siwula. "We hope parents will start the conversation about safe driving during National Teen Driver Safety Week, but continue the conversations throughout the year to help keep their teens safe."

NHTSA's website,, has information and statistics on teen driving and outlines six basic rules for the road:

  1. Avoid Distracted Driving: According to NHTSA, driver distraction is the leading factor in most crashes. Avoid distractions, like talking or texting on cell phones, talking to passengers, adjusting audio and climate controls in the vehicle and eating or drinking while driving.  Additionally, headphones are not safe to wear while driving, as they can distract a driver from hearing sirens, horns or other important sounds.
  2. Wear Seat Belts: Wearing a seat belt is the best protection against injury and death, yet according to NHTSA, teens are less likely to be buckled up than members of any other age group. Properly fastened seat belts contact the strongest parts of the body, such as the chest, hips and shoulders.  A seat belt spreads the force of a crash over a wide area of the body, putting less stress on any one part, and allows the body to slow down with the crash, extending the time when the crash forces are felt by the occupant.
  3. Take Extra Caution While Driving With Passengers. Passengers in a teen's car can lead to tragedy. NHTSA research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up dramatically in direct relation to the number of passengers in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.
  4. Obey Speed Limits: Limits are put in place to protect all road users.  Driving over the speed limit greatly reduces a driver's ability to steer safely around another vehicle, a hazardous object or an unexpected curve.  According to NHTSA, young males are most likely to be involved in speed-related fatal crashes.
  5. Never Drive Impaired: All teens are too young to legally buy, possess or consume alcohol, but they are still at risk. Once a person takes a drink, impairment begins. Alcohol slows reflexes, weakens coordination, blurs eyesight, gives a false sense of being in control and leads to risky decision-making. Like alcohol, marijuana and other drugs also affect a driver's ability to safely react to their surroundings.
  6. Don't Drive Drowsy. Between school and extracurricular activities, teens are busier than ever and tend to compromise something very important: sleep. According to NHTSA's National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Study, drowsy drivers are twice as likely to make performance errors in a crash as compared to drivers who are not fatigued.

"While we encourage parents to discuss rules for the road, it's also important to show teens how to implement these rules by being a positive example when behind the wheel," said Siwula. "Be a good role model. Drive sober, obey the speed limit, get enough rest before you drive, always buckle up and put the phone down."

For additional assistance, the KOHS partnered with the Kentucky Safety Prevention Alignment Network (KSPAN) to develop the Kentucky Checkpoints™ program.  This free program works with county and community entities, high schools and health departments to educate parents and teens on Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) requirements and risks to teen drivers. To learn more visit the KSPAN website here or contact KSPAN Program Coordinator Steve Sparrow at

Additional information on GDL restrictions can be found on Kentucky's graduated driver licensing (GDL) law website.








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National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 18-24, 2020

This week - and every week, parents should have conversations with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and number of passengers.

Facts about Teen Driver Fatalities

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.
  • In 2017, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 755 deaths were the teen driver - a 3% decrease from 2016.
  • Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens' choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks.

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Click link below for further Daily Fatality Report Information

Daily Fatality Report - 10-21-2020.pdf






Click link below for the Year End 2019 Daily Fatality Summary Information

Daily Fatality Summary for YE2019


Stop. Trains Can't.

The Right Choice at Railroad Crossings Could Save Your Life

 Don't Risk It at Railroad Crossings

  • Approximately every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States.
  • Most of these deaths were caused by risky driving behaviors and poor decision- making, and could have been prevented.
  • Remember: Stop. Trains Can't. Avoiding a collision with a train is the responsibility of the motorist.

 Trains Always Have the Right of Way

  • By law, trains have the right of way at all railroad crossings.

  • Trains cannot swerve, stop quickly, or change direction to avert collisions. A train traveling at 55 miles per hour takes a mile or more to stop.

  • State highway traffic safety laws require all motorists to slow, yield, or stop until the train has cleared the roadway and it is safe to cross.

  • It is illegal to go around a lowered crossing gate or to ignore signs or flashing lights posted at a railroad crossing.

 Understand the Signage and Follow the Law

  • Of the 130,000 public railroad crossings in the United States, roughly 54 percent are "active" crossings that include warning devices such as gates, bells, or flashing lights to alert motorists of an approaching train. But 46 percent are "passive" crossings, where only signs and markings are present.

  • While warning devices do improve safety at railroad crossings, they do not prevent 100 percent of collisions. Approximately 60 percent of all collisions at railroad crossings occur where active warning devices are present, and nearly 19 percent of all crossing collisions involve a motor vehicle striking the side of a train already in the crossing.

  • Motorists must come to a complete stop at least 15 feet from the track if: 1) flashing red lights are activated, 2) a crossing gate is lowered, 3) a flagman signals you to stop, 4) a stop sign is posted, or 5) a train is clearly visible or you hear the whistle of a train.

  • Ignoring signage or attempting to go around a crossing gate that is down can have deadly consequences. It is never worth risking your life by ignoring the law or racing a train.

  • The best way to avoid a collision with a train is to understand and follow the warning signage, and to always stop for a train.

 Use Caution at Every Railroad Crossing

  • When approaching a railroad crossing, slow down, and look and listen for a train on the tracks, especially at "passive" crossings.

  • Look carefully in both directions before crossing a railroad track—even during the day. Sixty-seven percent of railroad crossing collisions occur in clear weather conditions.

  • Do not rely on past experience to guess when a train is coming. Trains can come from either direction at any time.

  • Never race a train. It is easy to misjudge a train's speed and distance from the crossing. A train traveling at 55 miles per hour takes a mile to stop—the length of 18 football fields or more—after applying the emergency brakes.

  • Before entering a railroad crossing, check that there is enough room on the other side of the tracks for your vehicle to cross completely and safely. Be aware that you may need to cross multiple sets of tracks at some railroad crossings.

  • Never stop on the railroad tracks. Keep moving once you have entered the crossing, and to avoid stalling, never shift gears on the tracks.

  • If your vehicle does stall on a railroad track, quickly move away from the track and your vehicle at a 45-degree angle. Call the number on the Emergency Notification System (ENS) sign, or if the ENS sign is not visible to you, dial 911 for help.

Remember: The Right Choice at Railroad Crossings Could Save Your Life.

Stop. Trains Can't.

 This information has been provided by NHTSA.




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