The number of deaths on Idaho roads dropped significantly during the beginning of this year. Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) numbers released Tuesday said that there were 40 motor vehicle fatalities from January to April of 2010, while there were 62 during a similar span last year.
"We are very encouraged by the numbers because they represent significantly fewer family tragedies," said Mary Hunter, ITD’s highway safety manager. The early 2010 fatal crash total is below the average of 65 deaths during the past four years. "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." Improving roads and drivers’ habits, including wearing seat belts, as well as milder weather, can lower the number of deadly collisions.
One of the biggest declines in motor vehicle fatalities was on U.S. 95, which connects north and south Idaho. Last year, 11 people died during the first four months of the year, but that total was only two for 2010.
"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." ITD estimates that someone is injured every 46 minutes in a traffic crash in Idaho. “It is critical that people make responsible driving choices so that all can make it home at the end of their day."