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Kentucky highway death toll up slightly from 2011

Jan. 01, 2013 @ 08:54 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky's highway death toll in 2012 was running slightly ahead of last year's pace and the state's top transportation official on Monday promised continued efforts in the next year to promote safe driving habits.

Preliminary statistics from late last week showed that 735 people had lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2012, according to a count kept on the Kentucky State Police website. That number was up from the 714 fatalities during the same period in 2011.

But the death toll so far in 2012 was down from a three-year stretch ending in 2010, state police said. During the same period in 2008, there were 816 highway fatalities across the Bluegrass state, 782 in 2009 and 754 in 2010.

State Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said the toll remains a concern, especially amid a recent upswing in deaths.

"But it's not a numbers game for us," he said. "There is no such thing as 'acceptable losses.' Every highway death is a tragedy, and our Strategic Plan for Highway Safety is intentionally titled 'Toward Zero Deaths.' In 2013, we will continue our efforts, including an emphasis on use of seat belts, driving sober and eliminating driver distractions."

Two horrific crashes on opposite ends of the state claimed nine lives in December.