CHEROKEE COUNTY, Kan. — Motorists often think a serious crash can only occur on busy highways. However, according to the Kansas Highway Department of Transportation, over half of fatality and serious injury crashes occur on local roads, with half of those crashes involving only a single vehicle. In Kansas, rural roads have the most fatal crashes despite accounting for only 40% of total state miles traveled.
The Kansas Drive to Zero Coalition, supported by the Kansas Department of Transportation, Cherokee County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement partners are seeking to bring awareness to drivers who may think traveling on local roads comes with less risk.
"It's important for drivers to be mindful of dangers, and drive cautiously, regardless of whether they are on a highway or secondary road," said Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.
"Although there may be fewer vehicles on a rural road, conditions can still exist — such as dust, loose gravel, washboards, uncontrolled intersections, wildlife and other drivers — all of which can contribute to a traffic crash," he continued.
Driving at appropriate speeds, staying focused on the road, driving sober and properly using seatbelts often decreases the severity of injury in crashes.
"Across Kansas, almost 86 percent of crashes occurring on local roadways take place in good weather conditions and a majority are on straight and level roads, which is why it's important to not get complacent when it comes to safety and driving," said Groves.