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Idaho traffic fatalities decreased by 19% in 2022, officials say

Picture of roads near Idaho Falls. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS — There were fewer fatalities on the road in Idaho last year compared to 2021, and a safety office is hoping to continue to see a decrease.
According to preliminary data from the Idaho Office of Highway Safety, which is part of the Idaho Transportation Department, 219 people were killed in crashes on Idaho roads last year. It’s a 19% decrease from 271 deaths in 2021.
“We certainly want to see that number move lower and lower but it is a good step in the right direction,” said Ellen Mattila, a spokeswoman with ITD.
Mattila says one of the contributing factors to fewer fatalities is increased seatbelt use.
“We did see a jump in seatbelt use. Office of Highway Safety does an observational seatbelt survey every summer, and we saw an increase in seatbelt use over previous years so we think that is a really good, positive trend,” she said.
OHS reported that statewide seatbelt use rose to 87.6% in 2022, an increase of nearly 5% over 2021. In 2021, Idaho’s seatbelt use was 82.9%. OHS teams observed 25,385 people in vehicles at 180 sites across Idaho. Observers count the number of seatbelts used in the front seats of cars, vans, SUVs, and trucks, a news release said.
“Seatbelts increase your chance of surviving a crash by about 50%, so any increase in seatbelt use is going to be a really positive thing as far as traffic fatalities go,” Mattila told EastIdahoNews.com.
Still, there’s a lot of work to be done to prevent future road tragedies. That’s why OHS is accepting grant applications. The goal is to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from crashes by helping fund traffic safety projects.
“We offer the grants to other agencies … we want to give them to local police, local municipalities, and nonprofit agencies, with the goal of influencing positive driver behavior so that it makes everyone’s experience on the road safer,” Mattila explained.
Some projects that have been done with the help of past grants include enhanced police patrols for impaired driving, Seat Check Saturday for child passenger safety, and pedestrian and bike safety education.
Applications are open now and close on Feb. 28. Click here to learn more.
“We would love to see zero fatalities. That’s our ultimate goal,” Mattila said.
The post Idaho traffic fatalities decreased by 19% in 2022, officials say appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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