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Monday marks start of 100 deadliest days of driving

We’re about to enter what some in law enforcement call the 100 deadliest days of driving.

Each year from Memorial Day to Labor Day, more accidents occur on Idaho roads than any other time of the year.

Local News 8 looked at crash statistics kept by the Idaho Transportation Department for 16 eastern Idaho counties: Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Bonneville, Butte, Caribou, Clark, Custer, Franklin, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, Oneida, Power and Teton.

We found that in 2014, almost 40 percent of all fatal crashes took place between May 26 and Sept. 1.

For the entire year, there were a total of 1,962 crashes, 1,172 injuries and 44 fatalities, of which 17 (or 38.6 percent) occurred during the May 26 through Sept. 1 timeframe.

“That is pretty alarming,” said Capt. Eric Dayley with the Idaho State Police. Dayley said he sees a similar trend each year.

“There’s not a higher number of crashes during that time, just a higher number of fatalities,” said Dayley.

In 2013, one-third of all fatal crashes in Idaho took place during the summer months, according to ITD data.

Dayley said higher speeds combined with extra traffic help explain this.

“During the winter months, we have lots of crashes, but the speeds are lower,” said Dayley. “Then also there’s kind of that snow cushion.”

Last year’s statistics reveal that a total of 140 vehicles overturned in eastern Idaho during the summer months, making it the most frequent type of accident. Another 108 accidents involved animals in the road.

But the biggest cause of crashes last summer? Drivers failing to maintain their lanes, which accounted for 9.4 percent of all crashes in eastern Idaho.

“Those are the types of crashes that are typical of people who are inattentive like they’re texting or just not paying attention to the road or they’re intoxicated,” said Dayley.

Statistics indicate that the highest number of crashes last year took place in July, on Saturdays, and during the 4 p.m. hour.

This year, Dayley is urging drivers to take their time.

“Don’t pack too much into your itinerary so that you become tired and fatigued,” said Dayley.

Of the 16 counties Local News 8 examined, Bonneville County had the highest number of crashes last summer (94). It is unknown how many of these crashes were fatal.

County # of Accidents 5/26/14 – 9/1/14 Bonneville 94 Bingham 73 Lemhi 40 Madison 38 Power 33 Franklin 31 Custer 29 Jefferson 29 Fremont 28 Bear Lake 25 Oneida 24 Bannock 23 Butte 22 Caribou 22 Teton 9 Clark 8

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