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ITD: 300 killed on state's roads in 2023

Hagadone News Network | January 27, 2024 1:00 AM

Almost 300 people were killed in fatal crashes on the state’s roads in 2023, according to preliminary data from the Idaho Transportation Department.

Of the 276 people killed, there were 33 walkers, six bikers, 40 motorcyclists, and four ATV/UTV users. There were an additional 194 people in motor vehicles who died including, 104 of whom were not wearing a seat belt.

“Idahoans want to do right by their communities by driving safe, so this increase in fatalities should be alarming to all of us,” said Idaho Transportation Department Director Scott Stokes. “The loss of each person last year is a tragedy with broad impact. So, in Idaho let us recommit ourselves to the principles of engaged driving to help save lives in the future. That means putting the distractions away, buckling up, and driving cautiously and respectfully.” 

Bonners Ferry Police Chief Brian Zimmerman said he was shocked to hear that many people were not wearing their seatbelts. 

“Of all the fatalities I’ve responded to, I’ve only had to unbuckle occupants four times,” Zimmerman said.

When he worked for Idaho State Police in Coeur d’Alene he’d regularly responded to vehicle crashes in the water at Silver Beach arena. Many times seatbelts were not used.

According to crash statistics from the Idaho Transportation Department, 2003 was the highest year in recent history with 293 fatal crashes. That compares to the 271 fatalities in 2021 and the 194 in 2022.

Last year, in District 1 of Idaho, which includes Idaho’s five northern counties, there were 32 traffic fatalities.

In Boundary County there was only one fatality in 2023. Denzel Tucker, 24, was killed in August 2023 when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a tree. His car was located by Moyie Springs city employees whose backhoe was high enough off the ground and were able to spot his car.

Traveling eastbound on Roosevelt Road at a high rate of speed, he failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a tree. 

The vehicle had come to rest in bushes along the roadway, making it difficult to see.

Bonner County had six traffic fatalities in 2023. The latest was Jan. 17 when a 69-year-old Clark Fork woman was killed when her car left the road and overturned. ISP troopers said she was not wearing a seatbelt.

From 2010 to 2022, Boundary County had 22 fatalities out of 1,837 crashes. From 2010 to 2022, Bonner County had 113 fatalities out of 6,984.

The top contributing circumstances to traffic fatalities in 2023, in no particular order, include failure to maintain lane, speeding, alcohol or drug impairment, failure to yield, inattention, driving left of center, failure to obey traffic signs, overcorrection, improper overtaking of another vehicle, and distracted driving.

    Fatal crashes in Idaho from 1998-2022, provided by Idaho Transportation Department.