LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Intersections are repeatedly responsible for some of the deadliest traffic incidents in Kentucky. Just this year alone, 66 people have died at intersections, according to a LEX 18 analysis of data tracked by the transportation cabinet.
We reached out to the KY Transportation cabinet to find out why drivers have struggled with intersections. However, they were not able to provide an interview or information by the time this story was written.
Instead, two local police departments weighed in on what they were seeing and why.
Georgetown is one of the fastest growing cities in Kentucky, thanks in part to the Toyota plant, which has grown to be one of the largest automotive plants in the country. But along with that comes some growing pains like an increase in traffic and the dangers that come along with it.
“What we've noticed at a lot of our intersections is people, motorists are running the red lights, speeding to get through it,” said Assistant Chief Daren Allgood with Georgetown Police.
To combat the troubling driving behavior they have been seeing, Georgetown Police did a study of the most dangerous intersections in the city.
The intersection of the bypass and Paris Pike had the most collisions. Allgood says they believe the several lanes and heavy traffic are contributing. In addition, people running red lights and not paying attention are frequently observed in driving behavior.
They conducted an educational traffic campaign during August to help combat it.
In Lexington, Lt. Chris Van Brackel says the intersection of New Circle and Broadway is always one of their most dangerous.
“This has traditionally been year after year after year one of our highest collision intersections,” said Van Brackel.”One of the problems is it's geographically one of our biggest intersections in town. In every direction you've got at least two lanes going straight and two lanes turning.”
The intersection is also an entry point to get to US 27. Kentucky law also allows U-turns unless explicitly prohibited, which some drivers forget to yield.
“You have folks who are trying to turn right on red, and they're looking off to their left to see if there is anybody coming so they can turn right on red, and they're not thinking about the fact that right in front of them is somebody that's getting ready to make a U-turn,” explained Van Brackel.
Van Brackel says, similar to Georgetown, drivers are also running red lights.
“All over Lexington, we do have red light running issues. It's one of the things we're trying to work more enforcement on,” said Van Brackel.
In 2020, a third of drivers surveyed told AAA they ran a red light in the past 30 days. AAA estimates about 28% of traffic fatalities at intersections are caused by a driver running a red light.
Van Brackel says the biggest thing drivers can do is just constantly remind themselves of the risk.
“Driving is an effort. And I think that's what everyone needs to remember. It takes effort to drive safely. You need to be aware of what's going on around you, the motorcycles, other vehicles, visibility,” he said.
You can analyze crash data for yourself here.