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.
“I think it has a lot of variables, but the major contributing factor goes to inattention,” Superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol Colonel Herman T. Jones told KSNT on Monday.
“If you are doing 55 mph and you look at your phone for five seconds, that’s equivalent to one football field,” Jones told KSNT. “A lot can happen in that time.”
Jones said the Highway Patrol is already looking into the next class of troopers that want to be in law enforcement.
“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.