From: Kentucky State Police (FRANKFORT, Ky.) Preliminary statistics* indicate that seven people died in six separate crashes on Kentucky’s roadways during the News Year’s holiday period from 6:00 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, 2007, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008. This is one less fatality than during the 2006-2007 New Year’s holiday period when eight people lost their lives in six crashes. Preliminary data* indicates alcohol was a suspected factor in one of the six crashes. Six of the fatalities involved motor vehicles and none of the victims were wearing seat belts. One of the fatalities was a pedestrian. One double fatality crash occurred in Ohio County. Single fatality crashes occurred in Christian, Clark, Clinton, Jefferson, and McCracken counties. Preliminary statistics* indicate that a total of 852 people lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2007. Of the 689 motor vehicle fatalities, 388 victims were not wearing seat belts. Of the 93 motorcycle fatalities, 53 were not wearing helmets. Of the 24 ATV fatalities, 20 were not wearing helmets. There were 44 pedestrian fatalities and two bicycle fatalities. There were 201 fatalities as a result of alcohol-related crashes. “There were 61* fewer highway fatalities in Kentucky during 2007 than in 2006, when a total of 913 people lost their lives in traffic crashes,” notes Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer. “This 6.68 percent decrease is encouraging, but we must strive to do even better. Every decrease means lives saved and suffering avoided.” Brewer attributes a significant part of the highway fatality decrease to the passage of primary seatbelt legislation in 2006. This bill gave law enforcement officers authority to stop and cite motorists not using seat belts and imposed fines as well. “Enforcement of the law started in January of 2007,” explains Brewer. “This enforcement, combined with publicity, education and public cooperation, helped to raise seat belt usage in the state from 67.2 percent in 2006 to 71.8 percent in 2007.” “By using seat belts, lowering speeds, avoiding the use of alcohol and drugs while operating a motor vehicle and wearing a helmet while operating a motorcycle or ATV, we can further reduce needless deaths on Kentucky’s roadways and make the state safer for everyone,” says Brewer. Citizens can contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Kentucky State Police toll-free at 1-800-222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible. *These statistics are still preliminary as KSP waits for all local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to report any crashes and fatalities that may have occurred in their areas.