Combating 100 days of highway safety challenges

The 100 days between the Memorial and Labor Day holidays is the deadliest time for crashes on Idaho roads, according to ITD statistics. The increase in crashes comes at a time when driving and road conditions often are at their best.  

“The 100 days between Memorial and Labor Day represents 28 percent of the days in the year. Yet in 2012, those days accounted for 40 percent of fatal crashes,” said Josephine O’Connor of the ITD’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS).

During the “100 deadliest days,” Treasure Valley residents can expect to see traffic teams made up of multiple law enforcement agencies working together to target unsafe driving.  

“There’s strength in numbers, and we can make a bigger impact on reducing crashes by working together. We want to make sure residents and visitors alike get where they’re going safely, whether it’s to work or a ball game, to visit family, or headed out on a summer vacation,” said Sgt. Kyle Christensen of the Boise Police Department.

Ada, Boise and Canyon counties are home to one-third of Idaho’s population, but account for 39 percent of motorcycle crashes, 38 percent of aggressive crashes, 32 percent of impaired crashes and half of all bicycle and pedestrian crashes.

“We’ll be looking for anyone driving impaired, driving distracted or driving aggressively. Anyone driving in a manner that puts themselves or others at risk, faces being stopped by an officer,” Christensen said.

“Following too closely is an aggressive driving behavior that causes a lot of crashes in more congested urban areas like Nampa,” added Sgt. Matt Pavelek of the Nampa Police Department.

“Task Force members will be equipped with laser equipment that very accurately measures following distance, for example. We recommend the three second rule for drivers to keep a reasonable and safe following distance. For those that choose to drive in an unsafe manner like tailgating, they risk a ticket,” Pavelek said.

OHS will fund extra law enforcement patrols from the period from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It will include officers from Boise, Meridian, Nampa and Caldwell police departments, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho State Police. 

Published 5-30-14