Vermont highway fatalities highest since 2013

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) Vermont traffic safety officials are concerned by an increase in the number of traffic fatalities on the state's roadways.

State police statistics show that in 2017, 69 people died in 63 separate crashes.

It's the highest number since 2013 when 71 people died in 65 crashes.

The Burlington Free Press reports law enforcement officers attributed the spike in fatalities to driver impairment, speed, failure to use seat belts and distracted driving.

State Police Lt. John Flannigan, the commander of the Vermont State Police's safety programs, says the figures are disappointing and officials are looking at ways to reduce crashes.

Police across the state have been focusing on traffic enforcement, but Flannigan says safety also requires better engineering of roads, education of drivers and fast response time to crashes.

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