The number of traffic fatalities in Lee County topped 100 for the first time since 2007, according to a report late last month from The News-Press. As of the third week of December, there were 102 traffic fatalities in 2016 – more than it’s been in a decade. That figure does not account for the fatalities that occurred the last week of December, including over the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays.
These figures mirror those we saw more than 10 years ago when the region saw explosive population growth. In 2007, there were 106. In 2006, there were 121. The number of traffic deaths peaked in 2005 with 150. In more recent years, the number of Lee County traffic deaths didn’t surpass 100. Now, it seems that is changing, which is in line with the increases reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency reports there was a 7.2 percent increase in traffic deaths in 2015 – resulting in 2,348 additional lives lost that year. Early figures from 2016 suggest a further upward trend.
The more than 100 traffic fatalities in Lee County last year included cars, trucks, school buses, bicycles, pedestrians and motorcycles. In one instance, a child wasn’t properly buckled in. In another case, a young man was waiting at a red light on his way home from school. Numerous drivers weren’t paying attention. Others were impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. Continue reading →