Traffic fatalities increase in RI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island is on the wrong side of a national trend when it comes to traffic fatalities.

In 2009, the United States posted its lowest traffic fatality rate since 1950, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Highway deaths were down nearly 10 percent to roughly 34,000.

But during the same time period - 2008 to 2009 -- Rhode Island's traffic fatalities were up 28 percent - from 65 to 83. Janis Loisell, administrator of the state Office of Highway Safety says the increase is unacceptable but must be viewed in context.

"2007 to 2008 we went from 69 to 65," she says. "Sixty five was the lowest we'd ever had. Then we had an uptick to 83. Whereas the rest of the nation was coming down at much lower rates."

Over the weekend police in every city and town in the state were working overtime trying to catch speeders. Authorities say speed is a factor in most Rhode Island traffic fatalities.