Vermont deadly crash data; what's behind the recent uptick?

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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) Every year, state officials release crash data to see if Vermont is doing better at keeping drivers safe, and the reports over the past four years show climbing numbers.

Officers say that there are more drivers on Vermont roadways than ever before. Lt. John Flannigan is the safety programs coordinator for the Vermont State Police. He says gas prices were significantly lower for the majority of the 2017 and people are traveling longer distances. But more people on the road could mean more problems.

"Here we are in 2017 and we still have people who don't wear seatbelts," Flannigan said.

A new report from the state shows 56 percent of driving deaths happen because someone didn't want to buckle up. At a close second is impaired driving and third is speeding.

"If we took those three factors out of our crashes we would significantly decrease our fatalities," Flannigan said.

So far, there have been 60 deaths on Vermont roadways in 2017, and police say they wouldn't be surprised if that number keeps going up.

"People have some sense of invincibility when they are in their vehicles," Flannigan said.

However, while the numbers are high, Flannigan says the data has been higher in the past.

"Before 2000, we didn't have a decade that we had less than a hundred deaths on our highways," he said.

Vermont State Police say the majority of reckless drivers are men.
Flannigan says while 2017's crashes involved people of all ages, the majority were in the 18 to mid-30s age range.