No traffic deaths occurred on Idaho highways during the Memorial Day weekend for the first time in 12 years, according to ITD preliminary data.
Last year, six people died in five motor vehicle crashes on Idaho highways during the holiday reporting period, which begins at 6 p.m. on the Friday before Memorial Day and concludes the following Tuesday at 6 a.m.
ITD highway safety records spanning more than two and a half decades show only three other years when no fatalities occurred during the unofficial kick-off to the summer driving season – 1982, 1987 and 1997.
The state’s three-year average for motor vehicle fatalities through May is 88. Early numbers from ITD show just 55 traffic deaths this year for the same period.
“Idaho’s culture is changing,” said Mary Hunter, ITD highway safety manger. “We are focusing more of our attention on driving. We are buckling up, putting down cell phones and saying no to driving after drinking. We are getting smarter about the risks of driving and how to improve our personal safety.”
A high-visibility “Click-It” campaign under way also is encouraging highway users to buckle up in Idaho and across the nation.
Across the state, 68 law enforcement agencies participated in the high-visibility traffic enforcement campaign funded through a grant administered by ITD’s Highway Safety Office. The campaign began May 24 and ends Sunday (June 6).
“Even agencies that did not receive incentive or overtime funds are participating in the safety effort by working with local media, visiting schools, encouraging companies to put messages on reader boards and displaying posters,” Hunter explained.
“Through this combined effort, I can say that every law enforcement agency in Idaho is helping in some way, shape or form to achieve ITD’s ‘Towards Zero Deaths’ goal of no deaths on Idaho highways,” she said.