The commute for Kentucky motorists may soon prove a bit more somber. The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety announced plans to post highway fatality totals on the more than 50 electronic message boards speckling the state's interstates and parkways.

The agency's decision appears to have been spurred by the surge in roadway fatalities. As of October 6, 2009, the state logged a total of 599 vehicular mortalities. This surge followed a three-year decline. Acting Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock said more than half those killed were not wearing seat belts, and 22 percent of the reported deaths involved alcohol.

Fatality totals will appear along with other highway safety messages, the agency said. Emergency messages — such as road closures and Amber Alerts — will take priority.

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