In the past year there were fewer deaths on Kansas roads than in any other year since the Kansas Department of Transportation began keeping records. In 2013, according to preliminary, unofficial reports, there were 344 fatalities compared to 405 in 2012.
“One fatality is one too many, and we are going to work hard to have this number decrease in 2014,” said Kansas Secretary of Transportation Mike King. “In Kansas, we strongly emphasize safety in the engineering of our highways, and that’s an important component to keeping travelers safe.”
The previous low was 385 fatalities in 2008 — the high was in 1969, when 780 people died. KDOT started keeping records in 1947.
“Strategic investment in infrastructure, improvement in our seat belt rate, committed law enforcement and emergency responders, good laws and safer vehicles have all played into this dramatic reduction in fatalities,” said Steven Buckley, KDOT safety engineer. “While KDOT is committed to improving our roadway system, we still must rely on drivers to do their part by eliminating distractions, never driving drunk and wearing a seat belt, every trip, every time.
“We are encouraged by this record-setting year, but that is no consolation for the family and friends of the 344 persons lost in traffic crashes,” Buckley said. “The challenge to engineers, law enforcement, emergency responders, advocates, and especially drivers for 2014 is to continue the downward trend.”