Murray, KY – Drivers are welcoming lower gas prices, but numbers from the Kentucky Department of Transportation show the results aren't all good. Public Information officer Keith Todd says officials have noticed that as gas prices decline, the number of traffic fatalities is steadily increasing. He says during the time period gas prices peaked, state traffic fatalities were down 13 percent from last year. But after a recent two-week period with a high number of fatal crashes, that number's jumped up to just over 7 percent less than last year. He says there are a couple factors that probably led to the increase.
"We think that when gas prices were sort of at their peak back there around 4 dollars a gallon that people were slowing down as a means of saving fuel. We think now that the price of gasoline has dropped back to a more reasonable range, people have either speeded back up some or are going back to driving more." Todd says the U-S Department of Transportation found that in the first 9 months of 2008, Americans drove 53 point 2 billon miles less than the same period in last year. Though he won't have definite figures for November for a couple months, Todd says it appears those numbers are also steadily creeping back up.