TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Traffic deaths are up in Kansas this year. There have been 367 fatal accidents in 2020 as of November 11. That’s more than five percent higher than this time last year.
“We have seen an uptick in excessive speeding in the state since March,” said Kansas Highway Patrol Lieutenant Candice Breshears on one of the possible reasons behind the increase.
Now drivers are having to deal with other hazards on the road. They’re seeing more deer on the roads. It’s deer mating season, or the rut. Numbers from past years show accidents peak on November 13.
Last year there were more than 11,000 crashes involving a deer. 556 people were injured and 8 died in those accidents.
Safety experts said if you encounter one on the road, you shouldn’t swerve.
“Right or left, doesn’t matter. Obviously if you’re leaving left, you could be impacting another vehicle. Right, you’re going to get in an area that was not meant for driving, so once again, stay in your lane and hit the deer,” said Chris Bortz, traffic safety program manager for the Kansas Department of Transporation.
Bortz stressed to wear a seatbelt too. He said if the driver puts on the seatbelt, the likelihood of other passengers following suit skyrockets.
Law enforcement agrees.
“Make sure you always have your seatbelt on as well, that way if you do happen to get in a crash, that you’re protected as best you can be,” Breshears said.
We’re also about to see more dangerous weather, as well as more traffic during the holidays, but ending up in a wreck doesn’t have to happen.
“Decrease your speed that way you can control your vehicle better. Make sure you increase your following distance, that way if something does happen to the vehicle in front of you, you’re not there striking that vehicle,” Breshears said.
Though deaths on the road are up right now, Bortz said some could be avoided in the coming months.
“Winter weather during this time of year is always a concern for us, but if people do the right things, they should be able to get to their destination safely,” Bortz said.
Officials also said to have a designated driver if you’re drinking, and to get rid of distractions, especially by putting down your phone.