Kentucky recently experienced a decrease in car accident fatalities for the first time in four years. While this is good news for all road users across the state, it is too soon to tell whether this is a statistical anomaly or a continuing trend that will improve driver safety. It is, of course, important for all motorists to continue implementing safe habits in order to protect drivers, passengers, motorcycle riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians on roads across Kentucky.
If an accident does occur, a Louisville car accident attorney can help injury victims hold negligent drivers accountable for their dangerous conduct. An attorney can also help protect a victim’s legal right to be compensated for injuries and financial losses incurred as a result of an auto accident.
Road Fatality Trends in Kentucky and Across the Nation
The Bowling Green Daily News spoke with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety about the drop in road fatalities. “It’s a pretty big drop,” the Executive Director noted. Road fatalities in Kentucky dropped from 834 in 2016 to 770 in 2017. She also noted that national road fatality rates continue to increase, and suggested that Kentucky is “doing something in a good way.”
Kentucky government agencies have implemented many driver safety awareness campaigns in an effort to improve roadway safety. These include a coordinated message board campaign, a rollover simulator which gives high school students firsthand experience with the effects of impaired or distracted driving, and a Safe Patrol program run by the state highway department. Safe Patrol trucks help manage traffic during highway incidents and also assist stranded motorists.
How Drivers Can Take Responsibility for Road Safety in Kentucky
All of these campaigns have the same goal: to encourage individual drivers to implement safer driving habits. Drivers who fail to do so can not only cause serious injury, death, property damage and other devastating losses, but can also face criminal or civil liability for their actions. Impaired driving and reckless driving are both crimes prohibited by the Kentucky Revised Statutes. Drivers can face criminal penalties for violations of these statutes.
The Kentucky Revised Statutes also impose civil obligations upon drivers to operate their vehicles with due care. Section 189.290 requires drivers to operate their vehicles in “a careful manner," and prohibits driving in such a manner as to injure. Violations of this statute can subject drivers to fines and civil traffic offenses. Violations can also lead to a driver being found negligent in a court of law.
A finding of negligence makes a driver legally responsible for an accident that occurs as a result of that negligence. The negligent driver must then compensate accident victims for all medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, and other financial losses which were incurred as a result of the accident.
After an accident, a Louisville car accident attorney can help victims protect their legal rights while navigating the complicated civil claims process. An attorney can help victims identify causes of the accident and liable parties, file claims with an insurance company, negotiate a fair settlement offer, and determine whether it is necessary to file a civil lawsuit against the negligent driver.