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ITD says number of crashes increasing in gem state

ITD says number of crashes increasing in gem state

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - A traffic crash happened every 24.6 minutes in Idaho in 2012, according to a new study by the Idaho Transportation Department.

Despite the gem state's efforts to reduce distracted driving and aggressive driving, both caused a significant number of accidents in 2012.

With the increasing number of cars on the roads, vehicle accidents have unfortunately become a common sight.

"On average, we probably have each officer respond to 20-30 crashes each year," said Sgt. Scott Zaugg with ISP.

Sgt. Zaugg has worked as a trooper for 23 years.

He said vehicle crashes happen all too often, but vary depending on the time of year.

"During the summer time when the speeds are higher and the roads are good, the accidents we respond to are more severe, generally," said Sgt. Zaugg.  

According to ITD's annual crash report, there were more than 21,000 crashes last year. Up 2.7 percent from 2011.

The number of fatalities increased too. 184 people died in accidents last year, up 10.2 percent from 2011.

"Wear your seat belt because it's the best thing you can do to reduce the severity of the crash and the injuries you sustain from that crash," said Steve Rich, research analyst for ITD.

ISP is anticipating an increase in travel this 4th of July weekend, which means the possibility of even more accidents.

For the troopers, it's all hands on deck this week.

"Every officer will be working on a patrol assignment," said Zaugg. "That includes even those that typically just have office jobs."

Aggressive driving was the cause of 54 percent of crashes last year and distracted driving caused 23 percent.

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