SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – In October of 2016 KSNW-TV reported an increase in the number of fatal accidents across Kansas, many of which, liked to distracted driving.
It’s only February of 2017 and already the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) is seeing that dangerous trend continue at an alarming rate.
In January alone, there was about a 40 percent increase in fatal crashes from that time last year. So far in 2017, we’re looking at about 53 fatality accidents across the state, said Chad Crittenden, a KHP Trooper.
It’s a nationwide epidemic with over 40,000 fatal accidents across the U.S. in 2016, Crittenden said.
“Our cars are safer, our roadways are safer than ever but we’re continuing to have a large number of fatality crashes,” he said. “It’s the humans. We’re the problem in these situations and we have to find ways to combat that.”
Distracted driving is a huge issue but warmer temperatures and relatively low fuel prices could also play a role.
With so many warm days early this year, more motorcyclists have made their way onto the roads, Crittenden said. Many drivers aren’t used to looking out for motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians in February.
There’s also something to be said about the level of caution people use when driving in nice weather, he added.
“We see the snow and ice and we tend to be more cautious. People tend to put down any kind of distractions they might have to focus on the roadway,” Crittenden said. “We still might drive too fast. We know that. But when there’s good weather and all that, people overestimate their driving abilities.”