PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Deadly crashes are on the rise this year across Rhode Island.
According to RIDOT statistics, 61 people died on Rhode Island roads between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30. That is a nearly 50 percent increase from 2016, when 41 people died over the same period of time.
Of the deaths in 2017, one-quarter were pedestrians struck by vehicles. Others who died were passengers, drivers, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
Rhode Island Roadway Deaths in 2017
- Motor vehicle occupants: 36
- Motorcyclist: 8
- Pedestrians: 15
- Bicyclists: 2
As the holiday season approaches, RIDOT officials say they are hoping to decrease the number of fatalities due to intoxicated or distracted drivers. They will soon be launching their annual media campaign, and will also be focusing on the new law banning handheld cell phone use while driving, which will take effect June 1.
The agency also says an improving economy has led to more people on the roads, increasing the risk of accidents.