Motorcyclists killed in collisions continued to rise last year, according to the 2006 Idaho Traffic Collisions report released by ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety. Despite the rise in motorcycle fatalities, however, the overall number of motor vehicle fatalities declined last year — from 275 in 2005 to 267.
The report shows that 79 percent of the motorcyclists killed in 2006 were 35 years or older. A little more than half of all motorcycle collisions were single-vehicle collisions, while 56 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involved only a single motorcycle.
Overall, motorcycle collisions appear to have decreased in the repor,t however all motor vehicle collisions appear to have decreased in 2006. A legislative change took effect last year that increased the threshold for reporting property damage from $750 to $1,500.
ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety produces the report each year, providing a description of motor vehicle collision characteristics for Idaho that are drawn from the state’s collision database.
About 41 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities were the result of impaired driving. Of the 110 people killed in impaired driving crashes, 87 percent were either the impaired driver, a person riding with an impaired driver, or an impaired pedestrian.
Aggressive driving was a contributing factor in 43 percent of the state’s fatalities last year and also was a contributing factor in 54 percent of the motor vehicle collisions.
Young drivers, ages 15 to 19, were nearly three times as likely as all other drivers to be involved in a crash.
Idaho’s observed seat belt use reached an all-time high of 80 percent in 2006. While the observed rate was 80 percent, only 39 percent of the motor vehicle occupants killed in collisions were wearing seat belts. Had everyone been wearing seat belts, it is estimated that 58 lives may have been saved.
Eight pedestrians and two bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes last year.
The report notes that the economic cost to Idaho for 2006 motor vehicle collisions was nearly $1.8 billion. The cost estimate is based is on productivity losses, property damage, medical costs, rehabilitation costs, travel delay, legal and court costs, emergency service costs, insurance administration costs, premature funeral costs and costs to employers.
A copy of this year’s report is available at http://itd.idaho.gov -- select “Highways,” then “Office of Highway Safety Home Page,” then “Crash Info & Statistics.”