Officials unsure if July 4 Idaho traffic death was related to impaired driving

Preliminary numbers from the Office of Highway Operations and Safety (OHOS) show that only one fatality occurred on Idaho highways during the July 4 holiday weekend. It is not known yet whether impaired driving played a role in that death.
"Drivers are becoming more aware of safe driving habits, including making the smart choice to not drink and drive," said Kevin Bechen of OHOS. "Also, dedicated law enforcement officers working overtime on safety patrols throughout the state likely contributed to safer travel for all of us."
Last year, 65 people died on Idaho highways because of impaired driving and 265 people suffered serious injuries, according to ITD statistics. The economic impact for impaired driving crashes in 2009 was estimated to be $538 million, because of costs associated with lost productivity, property damage, medical services, rehabilitation, travel delays, legal actions, emergency services and higher insurance premiums.
With plenty of summer recreation and activities remaining, Bechen offered a few simple precautions before celebrating, which may prevent a drunk-driving tragedy.

  • Always wear a seat belt, because it is your best and only defense against drunk drivers.
  •  Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.
  • If you've been drinking, call a taxi, a sober friend or family member to get you home safely. Don't chance it.
  • Use available Sober Rides programs.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take his or her keys and help make other transportation arrangements.
  • Promptly report suspected drunk drivers you see on roadways to law enforcement. To contact the Idaho State Police, call *ISP.

ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety works to reduce deaths and injuries from traffic crashes associated with dangerous driving behaviors. This effort is part of ITD's commitment to achieve a goal of zero deaths on Idaho's highways.

Published 7-16-2010