Vermont saw about half the number of motor vehicle fatalities through July 2019 compared to the average over previous years.
Thirteen people died in crashes between January 1 and July 31, 2019. In a typical year, the state sees 25 – 35 deaths during that seven-month period, said Vermont Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn.
“While the reduction in the fatality rate so far this year is worth noting, we must be mindful that thirteen people lost their lives,” Flynn said. “One fatality is one too many.”
The Agency of Transportation said possible reasons for the decrease in deaths include motorists making better decisions and more awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence.
Seat belt usage may also be a factor. According to the most recent data, 40 percent of the people who were killed so far this year weren’t wearing a seat belt.
Through July 2018, more than six in ten people killed were not belted in.
The overall decline in deaths is particularly sharp compared to 2016 and 2018, when 36 people were killed through July. In 2017, 31 people died over the seven-month period.
The agency reminds drivers that they can help lower the highway death by slowing down, putting phones away and not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Earlier this week, the New Hampshire Department of Highway Saefty reported that 58 traffic fatalities so far this year, a decrease of about 20 percent from this time last year.