Idaho saw over 270 traffic deaths in 2023. It’s the highest number of deaths in decades

Last year was one of Idaho’s deadliest years for traffic crashes in decades, according to an Idaho Department of Transportation news release.

At least 277 people died in a traffic crash in 2023, according to preliminary data from the Office of Highway Safety. The last time more people were killed on Idaho roads was in 2003 when 293 people died in traffic incidents.

“Idahoans want to do right by their communities by driving safe, so this increase in fatalities should be alarming to all of us,” Idaho Transportation Department Director Scott Stokes said in the release. “The loss of each person last year is a tragedy with broad impact.”

While the majority of deaths in 2023 were people in vehicles, pedestrian and bicyclist deaths nearly doubled from the previous year. According to the news release, 195 of the deaths were people in a vehicle; 40 were on a motorcycle; 31 were on foot; seven were on a bicycle; and four were on an off-road vehicle.

Additionally, 105 of the vehicle occupants who died weren’t wearing a seat belt, the release said.

Ada County leaders pointed to an “alarming increase” in traffic deaths last year, and Ada County Highway District Commissioner Alexis Pickering called 2023 “one of the deadliest years on our roads,” the Idaho Statesman previously reported. There were 31 traffic deaths in Ada County last year, with at least 14 of them involving a pedestrian, according to the transportation department and previous reporting.

This is on par with a national increase in pedestrian deaths. The New York Times reported that since 2009, pedestrian deaths have been on the rise, and more than 7,300 pedestrians died in 2021.