Early report shows fatalities decline more than 35 percent
statewide for first four months of 2010
Idaho motor vehicle fatalities declined by more than one-third during the first four months of 2010, according to preliminary ITD data. Early numbers from ITD show 40 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in Idaho from January through April, a decline of more than 35 percent. Last year, 62 people died during the same four-month period.
Since 2007, an average of 65 people died as a result of motor vehicle crashes on the state's highways during the first four months of the year.
"We are very encouraged by the numbers because they represent significantly fewer family tragedies," said Mary Hunter, ITD highway safety manager. "But this isn't good enough. Safety is ITD's highest priority, and the department is committed to achieving a goal of no deaths on any Idaho highway."
U.S. 95, Idaho's primary north-south route, recorded 30 fatalities in 2009. Eleven of those fatalities occurred during the first four months of the year. This year, only two fatalities occurred during the same four-month period.
Improvements to highways, commitment by partners sharing safety messages, traffic enforcement, increased highway safety education efforts and a mild winter contribute to reductions.
Nationwide, motor vehicle fatalities are declining, and Idaho is no exception - dropping from 252 fatalities in 2007 to 232 in 2008. Preliminary data for 2009 suggests a continuing decline to 226 fatalities.
Hunter said that while ITD continues work to make the state's highways safe, individual motorists need to take responsibility for their driving behaviors such as not driving impaired, obeying posted speed limits and making sure everyone wears a safety belt.
"In 2009, 85 people who chose to not wear a safety belt were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Idaho," Hunter said. "At least half of those people would be alive today if they had worn a safety belt."
"These fatality numbers represent real people," she explained. "They are husbands, wives, sons, daughters and friends who are needlessly lost. Someone is injured in a traffic crash every 46 minutes in Idaho. It is critical that people make responsible driving choices so that all can make it home at the end of their day."