Few similarities found in recent traffic deaths

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By Tracy Harris

Considered the deadliest day on U.S. roadways, Oldham County Police responded to three car crashes during on July 4.

None included serious injuries, however, the number of traffic-related fatalities statewide is higher this year than last. 

A crash on I-71 southbound at mile marker 21 sent a 24-year-old woman to the hospital with a minor head injury, according to OCPD spokesperson Sarah King.

Around 9 a.m., crews responded to a two-vehicle collision in Goshen.

The head-on collision happened on U.S. 42 near the Goshen Post Office, prompting police to close down a section of the road between the North Oldham campus and Ky. 1793 for several hours.

Three people riding in one vehicle were injured, according to King, and two had to be extracted. 

One was taken by helicopter to a local hospital while the other two were transported via ambulance, she said.

Occupants of the second car suffered no injuries. 

In the evening, crews responded to a vehicle roll-over in Lake Louisvilla. The driver suffered head lacerations but was not transported to the hospital, King said.

Two additional crashes happened July 5, King said.

One occurred in the early morning hours near Jucy’s barbecue on La Grange Road at the Oldham-Jefferson County line when a vehicle struck a utility pole.

According to Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell, a single vehicle crashed when it left the roadway around 4:50 a.m.

EMS crews arrived on scene and transported the driver to Norton Brownsboro Hospital with chest injuries.

That evening, OCPD responded to a crash in Buckner at Ky. 146 and Cedar Point Road, King said.

Around 5:30 p.m., two cars collided in the curve near Oldham County Middle School.

Emergency crews extracted one occupant and transported two people to local hospitals.

July 4 is ranked No. 1 for overall traffic fatalities nationwide, and is considered particularly dangerous for teens, according to a AAA study.

The Summer Crash Analysis, released July 2, used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association and found 10 percent of the day’s fatalities are teens.

An average of 140 people die on U.S. roadways on July 4.

Statewide, there were 11 fatalities from July 3-6, according to preliminary reports from Kentucky State Police spokesman Lt. David Jude.

Jude said two fatalities were reported July 4 and four fatalities both July 5 and 6. One occurred July 3.

While there were no fatal crashes in Oldham County during the holiday, five deaths have occurred on local roadways so far this year.

That figure includes two deaths in March, a double-fatality June 23 and a death July 1.

There were five crash-related deaths in Oldham County during the first half of 2011, according to data from the Kentucky State Police. 

Four more fatalities occurred in the second half of 2011 — all in July — a total of nine deaths.

A study of recent fatal crashes in Oldham County shows no pattern or repetition of locations. 

The data includes the 13 fatal crashes from Jan. 1, 2011 through July 5, 2012.

Fatal crashes occurred at all times of day. When broken into four six-hour periods, three to four fatalities occurred in each period.

The deadliest single hour is 10 a.m. — the only hour with more than one fatality, both in 2011. 

Across the state, the number of fatal car crashes is higher than last year. 

As of June 28, KSP reports 356 fatalities statewide this year, compared with 316 for the same period in 2011. 

Jude said the department has also been looking for trends in the data, but is seeing statistics similar to Oldham County.

Fatalities are happening “all over the state, all over the hours of the day, all over any demographic,” he said.

Jude added that the only consistency in fatal crashes are driver attitudes and behaviors — driving under the influence, speeding and not wearing seatbelts, for example. 

However, those factors have remained constant over the years, he said.

“The only different thing seems to be more miles driven on our roads this year,” he said — a national trend.

Teens are considered particularly at risk during summer months when they are out of school and often have more flexible schedules and less parental supervision.

About 10 percent of July 4 fatalities are teens, according to the AAA survey.

Haley Howard, who graduated from North Oldham High School in May, created Project Horsepower after Jonathan Powell died in a car crash just weeks after his 2011 graduation from NOHS.

Howard received a $2,000 grant from State Farm Insurance to fund the project, which brought several hands-on activities to NOHS that Howard hopes encourages safe driving.

With August being considered the deadliest month of the year, officials are urging drivers to be aware and cautious when on the roads.