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Vermont Highway Deaths Way Down In 2014

The 43 deaths on Vermont highways in 2014 were well below the annual average - 69 - but officials aren't satisfied.

Highway deaths in Vermont were at the lowest level in more than 50 years in 2014, officials announced Tuesday.

There were 43 deaths on Vermont highways last year, according to new information released by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

That number is well below the average of 69 deaths annually over the previous five years, but officials aren’t satisfied.

“What we look at is, ask the question, ‘How many fatalities would be acceptable amongst your family and friends?’” says Kevin Marshia, the chairman of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance. “That number is zero.”

Of the 43 deaths on Vermont highways in 2013, 32 were drivers, six were passengers and five were pedestrians not in a vehicle.

Officials said about 25 percent of the fatalities involved speeding. Drugs and alcohol were factors in 25 percent of crashes as well.

Marshia recognizes that zero is a hard number to reach over an entire year, but one the state has chosen to strive for as part of the national “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign.

“It’s going to be very difficult to get there, there’s no doubt about it,” he says. “Is that our goal? Absolutely.”