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Traffic Deaths Dropped In 2018 In Idaho And The U.S.


The number of traffic deaths in the U.S. has fallen for the second year in a row. 36,560 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2018 in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

That trend has also been the case in Idaho. 213 people died on state roads last year, down nearly 6% from 2017.

The reason why? Federal officials point to more advanced and safer cars as a big factor in either preventing accidents before they happen or by cutting the severity of a crash.

“That’s very encouraging,” said Bill Kotowski with the Idaho Transportation Department. “Anytime we see a reduction in fatality, that means there are less families in Idaho suffering.”

Despite the improvement, Kotowski said that number needs to drop to zero before he can truly celebrate.

There was some troubling news in the report: Pedestrian and cyclist deaths inched up in 2018 by 3.4% and 6.3% respectively.

The number of alcohol-related driving deaths did drop by nearly 10% in that time period, though.

Studies have been mixed as to whether that’s because of the rise of ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber, but Kotowski says people have more options than ever to get a sober ride home.

“You can call your mom at 3 a.m. and I’m sure she’d be grumpy, but she’d still come and pick you up and keep you safe. There’s a lot of ways to get home and I think as a culture, we’re finally getting to the point where we’re starting to embrace that,” he said.

Early estimates from the first half of 2019 show traffic deaths are continuing to decline.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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