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Published July 18, 2010, 09:40 PM

Deadly Accidents Are Adding Up

The North Dakota Highway Patrol says fatal accidents are actually down from this same time last year.

By: Meagan Millage, WDAZ

There have been 47 traffic deaths this year. But that number is down from last year when there were 65 fatalities at this time, and from 2008 when there were 50. But there are some numbers this year that have seen a drastic increase.

So far this month eight people have died in traffic accidents in North Dakota, and that's raising some concern. But the North Dakota Highway Patrol says fatalities are just more common during the summer months.

"For the year to date, it's actually down a little bit. But we have noticed it seems like there's been a lot more because we have a lot more people traveling for the summer," North Dakota State Trooper Adam Dvorak said.

Even though there are about 20 fewer deaths this year than at this time last year, motorcycle deaths and head-on crashes have increased.

Ten people have died this year in motorcycle accidents, compared with three at this time last year.

There have been ten deadly head on crashes this year and only three at this time in 2009, and three in 2008.

"We do have a lot of head-on collisions and people failing to maintain their own lanes. So, which would tell us there probably is some distracted driving," Dvorak said.

Dvorak says many deadly accidents occur on two-lane highways with drivers drifting into oncoming traffic. He says if drivers stayed sober and buckled their seat belts, deadly accidents would be drastically lower.

"Huge is wearing your seat belts, avoiding consuming alcohol. Those are the two biggest. And then again, we were talking about distracted driving- people not maintaining their lane. So it's very important that people are alert and aware and they're not distracted," Dvorak said.

About half of the deadly accidents are alcohol-related.

Rollover accidents are most common year to year, but head-on crashes with drivers drifting over the center line have been common this year.