2008 traffic deaths in state at lowest count in 64 yearsA preliminary 2008 state traffic death count of 424 represents a dramatic 16 percent decrease in deaths from 2007, and the lowest fatality mark since 1944 when 356 motorists were killed.
A preliminary 2008 state traffic death count of 424 represents a dramatic 16 percent decrease in deaths from 2007, and the lowest fatality mark since 1944 when 356 motorists were killed.
DPS officials say increased seat belt use, as well as proactive approaches such as enhanced impaired and aggressive driving patrols, road safety improvements, as well as emergency medical service efforts contributed to the lower death count.
“There is a clearer trend of lower annual road death counts,” said Michael Campion, DPS commissioner. “But motorists can’t afford to have a false sense of security behind the wheel, everyone must continue safe driving habits – and step one is seat belt use.”
Campion added that the most critical statistic to determine the safety of state roads is the traffic death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which will be available later in 2009.
The preliminary DWI arrest count is 34,072, and this figure will continue to grow. Crash data regarding alcohol-related deaths will be reported later this year. Each year, impaired driving accounts for around 200 deaths and 3,000 serious injuries.
DPS reports distraction, impaired driving, seat belt non-use and speeding are expected to be the primary contributing factors of the 2008 fatal crashes.
Several statewide enforcement efforts in 2008 yielded dramatic results.
An April speed campaign generated 24,000 citations. Enhanced seat belt enforcement campaigns in May and October resulted in more than 12,500 belt citations, and officers participating in a statewide July DWI enforcement campaign arrested more than 3,200 motorists for DWI.
Year-long NightCAP (nighttime concentrated alcohol patrol) DWI enforcement efforts that target the deadliest counties for impaired driving netted more than 3,000 DWIs. The results of a December-long DWI crackdown will be available later this week.