TWIN FALLS — The 100 Deadliest Days of Driving spans from Memorial Day through Labor Day and is considered to be the most dangerous time of the year for Idaho roadways.
Now that it has concluded, officials have been able to gather the data to show how this summer played out compared to past years. This summer there were 92 fatalities statewide, in 2020, there were 88, in 2019, there were 92, and in 2018, there were 101.
While statewide deaths have been down since 2018, officials are still working to bring that number lower.
“92 people is still too many," said Jillian Garrigues, the Public Information Officer for Idaho Transportation Department. "We need to work together to keep these roads safe and make those smart choices like wearing your seatbelt, finding a sober ride home, paying attention while driving so that you don’t get into a crash.”
Of those 92 deaths that occurred this year, 19 of them were in the Magic Valley. The Twin Falls Department responded to 178 crashes and attributed several reasons for the cause of the accident, such as distracted, aggressive, or impaired driving.
“Twin Falls is kind of a hub city," said Tyler Kraft, a member of the Twin Falls Police Department's Traffic Team. "So, we have a lot of people that work here during the day whether it’s Chobani or Clif Bar, and then they leave at night. So that means there’s a lot more vehicles on the roadway, whether that’s during the daytime or nighttime, people visiting.”
Perhaps one of the main efforts taken by the Idaho Transportation Department and local law enforcement agencies to cut down the number of accidents was a series of campaigns targeted towards aggressive and impaired driving.
The Idaho Transportation Department typically funds local police departments during these campaigns so they can provide overtime for their officers and have more eyes on the roads.
“As far as the overtime, I think that it’s a great resource," said Kraft. "Like I said, it puts more manpower on the street to help keep the public safe. Then when you have more people, you have more opportunities to find stuff.”
During that time, the Twin Falls Police Department made a total of 2,785 traffic stops, averaging nearly 28 stops per day.
Although the 100 Deadliest Days is over, that focus on keeping people safe when driving is carrying over into the fall and winter months.
“There’s always vehicles driving on the roadway no matter the time of year," said Kraft. "So, our focus doesn’t shift from, it's only important that time, it’s more of a, it’s always important type thing.”
The Idaho Transportation Department will continue its efforts of raising awareness through its social media platforms, events, and even commercials.
“We’re about to get fall and winter where you have to think about winter driving safety as well," said Garrigues. "Fall, school is back in session so, you want to make sure you’re watching for kids and people riding their bicycles as well, those pedestrians out on the roads.”