Idaho road deaths surge
Traffic backs up in both directions in the 5500 block of Government Way near the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.
Traffic deaths in Idaho surged in the first nine months of 2021, as did nationwide road deaths, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The estimated number of people who died in motor vehicle crashes from January to September 2021 is 31,720. The figure is 12% higher than the same period in 2020.
That’s the highest number of fatalities over a nine-month period since 2006.
It’s also the highest increase since the department began recording fatal crash data in 1975.
In Idaho, a total of 206 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first nine months of 2021.
That 36% increase over the same period in 2020 is the biggest spike in the nation.
Fatalities had declined in Idaho each year between 2016 and 2020.
During that four-year period, 36% of all fatal crashes in Idaho were linked to impaired driving, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.
The number of fatalities in Idaho rose to a 15-year high in 2021, with at least 258 people dead as a result of crashes.
The next highest increases between 2020 and 2021 were in Nevada and Oregon, where deaths rose by 30% and 29% respectively.
Washington’s traffic fatalities totaled 467 in 2021, a 10% increase from the year before. In Montana, fatalities increased 18.5%, with 179 deaths recorded.
Region 10 — which includes Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana — had the highest increase in fatalities overall, with deaths rising 20% in the region.
Fatalities dropped in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
Mississippi and Wisconsin were the only states that saw no change.