Sharp Increase in Idaho Traffic Fatalities
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Car crash deaths were up by more than 7 percent nationwide in 2015, but Idaho saw an even steeper increase. In recently summarized data, the Idaho Department of Transportation (IDT) reported that fatalities in motor vehicle crashes were up by more than 16 percent for the year, to a total of 216.
These numbers were just some of the unwelcome statistics, as the counts in numerous other categories were also up, although not to the same degree. Driver behaviors were revealed to be of serious concern, as the damage from impaired, distracted, and aggressive drivers were all up over the previous year.
There’s nothing to celebrate in any of the numbers. By IDT’s estimate, a motorist died in an Idaho traffic accident on average every 40.6 hours in 2015. Total crashes were up 8.5 percent, to more than 24,000. Serious injuries rose more than 6 percent, to 1,351.
A full 40 percent (eighty-seven) of all traffic fatalities were caused by impaired drivers. Aggressive driving was a factor in 52 percent of total crashes, including those leading to seventy-seven deaths. Distracted driving—a growing problem in recent years—was considered at least partially to blame in 23 percent of all crashes, and was behind fifty-one fatalities.
The only bright spot in the data may not be all that bright: Despite the sharp jump, traffic fatalities in Idaho are still lower than every year prior to 2008. Unfortunately, there are indications that the upward trend will continue.
Nationwide traffic crash data for 2016 won’t be available for some time, but early indications are that it will continue the trend shown in 2015. Preliminary information from the first nine months of the year already shows a potential increase in crash fatalities of more than 8 percent. If the final months of the year turn out the way the first nine did, 2016 might be the worst year for crash deaths since 2007.
There are a number of reasons why crash fatalities are up, but a report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that there is one critical factor: unsafe driver behaviors. Their 2016 Traffic Safety Culture Index found that more than two-thirds of all drivers admitted to engaging in at least one unsafe driving behavior within the past month. While drivers of all ages acknowledged that many behaviors are unsafe despite still engaging in them, the so-called millennials (aged nineteen to twenty-four) proved the most potentially dangerous, as 88 percent of them had run a red light, been speeding, or texted or emailed while behind the wheel in the previous thirty days.
What’s more, a higher percentage of millennial drivers than any other age group found nothing wrong with these behaviors. That was a nationwide survey, so how drivers in Idaho feel about these things, and how often they do them, isn’t specifically known.
With so many crashes happening every year, it may only be a matter of time before you’re caught up in one. When that happens, turn to Craig Swapp & Associates to help you recover compensation for any property damage or injury caused. Our attorneys have years of experience with automobile accident law, and we offer a free consultation to discuss the specifics of each client’s case.
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