More than 100,000 collisions have occurred on the busiest roadways in Louisville in the past decade, and while city officials have called for zero deaths from collisions by 2050, 96 people have already died from roadway crashes in 2023, data show.
Reports reviewed by The Courier Journal show crashes on some of the most traveled roads in Louisville, like Bardstown Road and Dixie Highway, have impacted more than 20,000 drivers in the past 10 years and caused more than 800 fatalities since 2016, according to state records.
Sgt. Jeremy Allen with Louisville Metro Police's Traffic Unit said the number of collisions partially makes sense with the amount of traffic that travels along those roads.
"Being in the traffic unit, I'm in an unmarked vehicle, I'm not in a marked patrol car ... you're sitting at red lights or, you know, driving along on the roadway and you see people on their cell phones," Allen said. "It's a magnet they can't look away from it for more than a few minutes without having to pick it up while they're driving down the road [or] sitting at a red light.
"Inattentive driving is, in my opinion, the biggest contributing factor."
'There are many high-speed, dangerous roadways ... in Jefferson County'
According to data from Vision Zero Louisville, an initiative created by the city in 2021, there have been 853 fatalities and 4,033 serious injuries on public roadways between Jan. 1 of 2016 and Sept. 30 of this year.
Claire Yates, the director of Vision Zero Louisville, said roadway safety efforts were being explored as early as 2018, but Louisville Metro Council passed an ordinance last year aimed at bringing roadway fatalities to zero by 2050.
Since then, the organization has analyzed the lifecycle of the crash — like speed limits, sidewalks for pedestrians and overall design of the road — to determine if a roadway is safe. After a crash happens, they analyze response times for emergency services and improving travel times to area hospitals.
"There are many high-speed, dangerous roadways ... in Jefferson County that are going to need significant improvements to improve public safety," Yates said.
The program is currently reviewing the roads where the most fatal and serious injury crashes occur and afterward start a redesign plan with Proven Safety Countermeasures from the Federal Highway Administration.
Yates said crashes and collisions are not accidents because people that caused them decided to drive fast or under the influence of alcohol.
"I think that it does a disservice to victims and to public safety when motor vehicle collisions are treated as some sort of isolated incident or some sort of act of God that was wholly unpreventable," Yates said. "It's important to view motor vehicle collisions in a wider context, to understand that this is this is a persistent problem and that there are things that we can do to reduce and prevent fatal and serious injury crashes."
Where have the most crashes in Louisville happened in the past 10 years?
Bardstown Road: 18,744 collisions
Preston Highway: 13,615 collisions
Dixie Highway: 12,809 collisions
Broadway: 9,676 collisions
Third Street: 8,371 collisions
Hurstbourne Parkway: 7,671 collisions
Outer Loop: 6,598 collisions
Shelbyville Road: 5,872 collisions
Poplar Level Road: 5,643 collisions
Interstate 264 West: 5,610 collisions
Taylorsville Road: 5,246 collisions
Interstate 264 East: 4,977 collisions
Brownsboro Road: 4,914 collisions
Second Street: 4,860 collisions
Interstate 65 North: 4,809 collisions
Westport Road: 4,792 collisions
Fern Valley Road: 4,722 collisions
Cane Run Road: 4,309 collisions
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the Vision Zero Louisville initiative began in 2021.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Bardstown Road is top Louisville road for crashes, new data show