Idaho Transportation

Public Affairs Office
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707
Fax: 208.334.8563

'It is time to drive down the number of injuries and fatalities in Idaho. It is time to act decisively. It is time that highway safety becomes more than our highest priority – that it becomes our greatest achievement.'

– ITD Director Dave Ekern

One is too many

The loss of a single life in a traffic crash on Idaho’s highways is not acceptable.

Preventing fatal crashes is the primary focus of a three-day conference Wednesday through Friday in Boise. ITD joins more than a half-dozen other sponsors in presenting the “Governor's Highway Safety Summit: Toward Zero Deaths.”

By the numbers
Idaho 2004

Total collisions: 28,332

Fatal collisions: 240

Total deaths: 260

Injury collisions: 9,843

Total injured: 14,734

Property-damage-only collisions (damage exceeding $750): 18,249

Idaho population: 1,393,000

Licensed drivers: 948,000

Vehicle miles of travel: 14,825,000,000

Registered vehicles: 1,386,000

Economic costs:
Fatalities: $833,453,248 ($3,205,589 per occurrence)

Serious injuries: $369,949,677 ($221,925 per occurrence)

Visible injuries: $200,886,891 ($44,385 per occurrence)

Possible injuries: $200,076,863 ($23,425 per occurrence)

Property damage only: $44,999,078 ($2,466 per occurrence)

Total estimate of economic cost: $1,649,365,757

More than 120 representatives of federal, state and local agencies will assemble at Boise State University to create an agenda for life-saving change. The conference is more than a discussion of safety practices – it is a forum dedicated to finding solutions to the needless deaths on Idaho’s highways, roads and streets.

U.S. Transportation Secretary characterized the problem of highway traffic deaths as a “national epidemic.”

A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that 42,800 individuals lost their lives on America’s highways in 2004. That is roughly equivalent to the population of Coeur d’Alene, or the number of persons who perished in the recent Pakistan earthquake.

More important, those figures represent a husband or father, a wife or mother, a son or daughter, or a child – each individual death a tragic and unacceptable loss.

“We are in the midst of a national epidemic,” Mineta said. “If this many people were to die from any one disease in a single year, Americans would demand a vaccine. The irony is, we already have the best vaccine available to reduce the death toll on our highways – safety belts.”

ITD Director Dave Ekern and Gov. Dirk Kempthorne describe the losses on Idaho highways as unacceptable.

“As I travel the highways of Idaho, I’m always reminded how beautiful and great our state is,” Ekern said in announcing the Zero Deaths Safety Summit. “Then I see small memorials along the side of the road, and it reminds me of how many people die or are injured in automobile crashes. I have seen too many crashes, too many injuries, too many deaths.

“It is time to drive down the number of injuries and fatalities in Idaho. It is time to act decisively. It is time that highway safety becomes more than our highest priority – that it becomes our greatest achievement.”

How serious is the problem in Idaho?

  • In 2004, 260 people were killed and 14,734 people were injured in traffic collisions.
  • The fatality rate was 1.75 per 100 million Annual Vehicle Miles of Travel (AVMT) in Idaho in 2004. Idaho’s fatality rate remains higher than the U.S. fatality rate. The U.S. fatality rate was 1.48 per 100 million AVMT in 2004.
  • Motor vehicle collisions cost Idahoans over $1.65 billion in 2004. Fatal and serious injuries represented 73 percent of these costs.

The governor’s safety summit will bring together leaders from throughout Idaho who are committed to improving safety on the state’s highways. The conference is designed to:

  1. Educate constituencies on shared interests, perspectives and programs
  2. Discuss and learn about best practices and technologies that can reduce fatal crashes, and
  3. Identify ways that national, state and local organizations can work collaboratively to effectively promote and improve highway safety

The anticipated product of the summit will be a draft or framework for a comprehensive statewide safety plan that includes all agency, private and public stakeholders in Idaho and to identify ways in which the plan can be implemented.

Success will be measured in the number of lives saved.

ITD’s primary responsibility is to design and operate a safe state highway system and through its Office of Traffic and Highway Safety to promote safe driving practices. Many other organizations and individuals share that commitment, including public safety officers, medical personnel, the insurance industry, trucking organizations and educators.

ITD's partners in sponsoring the Zero Deaths safety summit include:

  • Idaho State Police
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Idaho Traffic Safety Commission
  • Local Highway Technical Assistance Council
  • Boise State University, and
  • University of Idaho

“Achieving substantial reductions in the number of lives lost to traffic crashes in Idaho is more than a goal or priority,” Ekern said. “It is a necessity. We have the ability; we have the expertise; we have the desire. Now we must have results.”

For more information about the conference, visit the Zero Deaths Web site: