The summer driving season, also known as the “100 Deadly Days of Summer” runs from Memorial Day to Labor day. It’s a time when we see an increase in people on the road and unfortunately, an increase in driving related fatalities. In Boise, it also means an increase in drivers headed downtown.
“The downtown core has seen a substantial increase in nighttime, weekend drivers. We encourage people to drive responsibly and carefully as Boise Police will have increased patrols for the next several months,” said Boise Police Captain Paul Burch.
The Boise Police Department is partnering with the Office of Highway Safety to receive grant funding that will allow for multiple increased patrols. In particular, officers will be looking for aggressive driving, distracted driving, and seatbelt violations all throughout Boise including downtown on the weekends.
“This additional 1500 hours of targeted patrols throughout the summer is an effort to change driving behavior and reduce crashes and fatalities,” said Boise Police Corporal Kyle Wills.
One of the most concerning driving behaviors is an increase in driving speeds. Recently officers have stopped multiple drivers for going 90 or 100 miles per hour. Any driver going 16 miles or more over the speed limit may receive a $155 ticket for excessive speed.
“High speed crashes are some of the most deadly and frightening crashes that we respond to,” said Corporal Kyle Wills. “For the safety of yourself and all road users, drivers need to follow the posted speed limit signs and drive safely so we can all make it home."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Boise saw an over 50 percent drop in traffic crashes during the months of March, April and May. Even with fewer people on the road, the Idaho Transportation Department says there has been 24 fatalities statewide since March 25. Of those fatalities, one happened during the last week of March, nine in April, and 14 so far in May (through May 22).
Along with more drivers on the road in the months ahead, distracted and impaired driving are major factors that make the summer months more dangerous. Last year, from June through August 2019 in Boise there were two fatal crashes and 30 crashes where someone received an incapacitating injury.
“Every time you get in a car, whether it's a quick trip or a long haul, there are key actions you can take to make it to your destination safely,” said ITD Highway Safety Manager John Tomlinson. “Be sure to slow down, drive engaged, drive sober, and always buckle up.”