The Idaho Transportation Department reported a 16.1 percent increase in fatal car accidents in Idaho in 2015. Compare that to the 7.2 percent increase nationwide in 2015 reported by the United States Department of Transportation. That means fatal car accidents occur two times more frequently in Idaho than the national average.

Fatal Car Accidents in Idaho

A new study from AAA said the number of fatalities on Idaho highways is up significantly. Why? Casual driving habits could be to blame. AAA’s 2016 Traffic Safety Culture Index reports drivers admitting to making more risks than they would tolerate from family. What are driving risks? Examples include cellphone use while operating a vehicle, driving tired, or talking on the phone. Sargent Tim Hopkins of the Idaho State Police said, “Your attention is divided by the person you’re talking to over Bluetooth or listening to the Google maps and you know you’re paying attention to what they are saying than [being] 100-percent focused on your driving on the road.”

Per a study done by AAA, 91.7 percent of drivers believe distracted driving is a bigger problem than it was three years ago. Coincidentally, 68 percent of drivers also said they have talked on the phone while driving in the past 30 days and more than 40 percent said they have read a text message or an email during that time frame.

A fatal crash occurred last week near Boise reported Idaho State Police. A pickup truck was driving westbound on U.S. Highway 30 when it struck a motorcycle attempting to turn left. The driver of the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene. Eastbound and westbound lanes were blocked for about three hours while the accident was cleared. Idaho State Police are still investigating the car accident.