In the United States, motor vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities have declined substantially over the last decade. In the years between 2000 and 2013, the last year for which annual data is available, fatal crashes dropped from a high point of 39,000 in 2005 to 30,000 in 2013.

Crashes are a significant issue for transportation planning due to their impact on the individuals involved as well as the economic impacts on the entire OKI region. Research into the locations where crashes are occurring at a greater rate than the norm can lead to improvement in safety for the traveling public. Safety data from all three states has been reviewed in the preparation of this plan. Moreover, interagency consultation and cooperation result in advancement of projects which address the region’s safety needs.

Fatal Vehicle Crashes in the United States, 2000-2013

SOURCE: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration National Statistics. Get the Data

Despite the reduction in fatal crashes, someone dies every 16 minutes in a motor vehicle accident somewhere in the nation. Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Moreover, the National Center for Health Statistics has determined that motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for persons of every age from five through 24 years old in 2013. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WISQARS Traffic crashes are a significant concern. One of the primary goals of this plan is to improve travel safety by reducing the risk of crashes that cause death or injuries.

Regional Crash Data

Within the OKI region, over 55,000 crashes occurred in 2013, ending at least 114 lives, and causing more than 12,000 injuries. However, available data indicates that fatalities have been declining in the OKI region in recent years. The uptick in fatal crashes nationwide as well as fatalities in the OKI region in 2012 appear to be anomalies as the counts drop closer to their 2011 levels in 2013.

Crash Types by County, 2013

CountyTotalFatal CrashesInjury CrashesProperty Damage Only Crashes
Butler 7,603182,1015,484
OKI Region55,47011412,04948,122

SOURCE: Ohio Traffic Safety Facts 2013; Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts 2013 Report; Indiana Traffic Safety Facts 2013. Get the Data

Fatalities by County, 2009-2013

SOURCE:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Get the Data 

Bicycle and Pedestrian Crashes

Reported bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in the OKI region have varied little in the past several years. Bicycle deaths have been minimal and pedestrian fatalities have totaled 20 or less annually.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Fatalities in the OKI Region, 2009-2013

SOURCE:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Get the Data

Coordination with Statewide Plans

To reach this plan’s safety goals, OKI will coordinate fully with the individual states and local communities in its planning area. In compliance with the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act requirements that are a continuance of those established in MAP-21, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana have developed State Highway Safety Plans (SHSP). OKI’s coordination with the region’s three states’ SHSPs is mandated to “include, at a minimum, high-level goals, objectives and strategies that are consistent with those in the SHSP.” Source: Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) Interim Guidance, SHWA Office of Safety, April 5, 2013

OKI is contributing to the fulfillment of each individual state’s safety goals by analyzing crash data on roadways within the agency’s tri-state planning area. While implementing state and local governmental agencies are responsible for determining engineering improvements to the roadway system, OKI assists in identifying high-risk locations. These analyses result in the identification of locations where safety needs are greatest in the OKI region. To conduct this analysis, OKI acquires the individual crash records for the most recent five years for which data is available (2009-2013) from each state in the region. Each state gathers different types in different formats which OKI normalizes and combines for analysis.

In the five year period from 2009 through 2013, OKI staff reviewed state crash data and determined that there were 593 fatal crashes on on-system (interstates, other freeways, arterials and collectors) roadways in the OKI planning area. Beyond the potential individual devastation wrought by crashes, the costs of such incidents impact every person in the OKI region. These costs are felt by an incremental loss in productivity due to non-recurring congestion, actual property damage costs and monetary costs associated with medical expenses, increased insurance premiums, and legal fees. Improving travel safety will have positive impacts for everyone in the OKI region.

In a review of crash data, a crash rate which is expressed as the number of crashes per hundred million vehicle miles, is a more accurate measure of the safety condition of the roadway than a simple crash tally because it takes into account traffic volume.

Crash rates for years 2009-2013 by roadway segment in the OKI region were developed and ranked based on two conditions: the segment’s average daily traffic (ADT) exceeding 2,000 vehicles and a segment length greater than one-tenth of a mile. The 10 highest crash rate locations in each county are highlighted in the interactive map.

Crash rates are used by OKI in its project prioritization process and in identification of dangerous locations to assist state and local agencies in pinpointing transportation needs for further study and, when possible, finding resources to meet those needs.

Safety Countermeasures for Motorized Vehicles

In January 2012, the Federal Highway Administration published a list of nine research-proven roadway safety countermeasures and is advocating their implementation across the country. This list was an update to a list of such countermeasures published in 2008. Source: “Guidance Memorandum on Promoting the Implementation of Proven Safety Countermeasures,” Federal Highway Administration, 2012.

These countermeasures, some new, some carried over from the prior list, include:

  • Safety edge
  • Roundabouts
  • Corridor access management
  • Backplates with retroflective borders
  • Longitudinal rumble strips and stripes on two-lane roads
  • Enhanced delineation and friction for horizontal curves
  • Medians and pedestrian crossing islands in urban and suburban areas
  • Pedestrian hybrid beacon
  • “Road diets” (roadway configuration)

State departments of transportation are encouraged to incorporate these countermeasures when planning transportation projects.

Safety Countermeasures for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

To improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, the National Highway Safety Administration, in its 2006 Highway Safety Program Guideline No. 14, specifies that the following engineering measures be incorporated into a state’s highway safety program:

  • Pedestrian, bicycle, and school bus loading zone signals, signs and markings
  • Parking regulations
  • Traffic-calming or other approaches for slowing traffic and improving safety
  • On-road facilities (e.g., signed routes, marked lanes, wide curb lanes, paved shoulders)
  • Sidewalk design
  • Pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks, crosswalks, curb ramps, and paths
  • Off-road bicycle facilities (trails and paths)
  • Accommodations for people with disabilities


Older Driver Safety

During the planning period 2010 to 2040, a safety challenge will present itself in a magnitude not seen previously in the OKI region: the older driver. More than 420,000 persons aged 65 and older are projected to populate the region in 2040, compared with 240,000 in 2010, and will constitute roughly one-fifth of the population of driving age in the OKI region.

Nationally and locally, crash data analysis indicates that the older driver is more frequently involved in right angle crashes and in crashes at intersections compared to the general motoring population. Furthermore, drivers 65 and older are at greater risk for more severe crashes due to bodily frailty.

Comparison of Crash Location, Type and Severity for All Drivers with Drivers Aged 65 and Older in Ohio Counties of the OKI Region

 All DriversDrivers Aged 65+
Crash Location
Crash Type
Fixed Object14.6%9%
Rear End11.7%14.2%
Crash Severity

SOURCE: OKI analysis of 2009-2013 crash data for Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties. Get the Data

Countermeasures to help seniors drive more safely include explanatory signage, larger signage, redundant signage, advance notice signage, explicit pavement markings and back plating on signals. All of these countermeasures are low-cost and able to be implemented within the confines of the existing roadway.

After driving, walking is the second most popular means of transportation among the elderly. Source: How the Travel Patterns of Older Adults Are Changing: Highlights from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey by Jana Lynott and Carlos Figueiredo, Fact Sheet 218. Because the elderly may need additional time to cross a street due to shorter stride, slower gait and slower reaction time, educational plaques and leading pedestrian intervals on signals can improve pedestrian safety.

An added value of countermeasures addressing the needs of the elderly is the fact that they also enhance safety for travelers of all ages.