MONTPELIER (AP) - The number of people killed on Vermont highways dropped to 69 last year, a decrease of about 10 percent from the year before, statistics show.
The 2013 traffic fatality figure compares with 77 people killed in 2012, but it's still higher than the 54 people who died on the state's roadways in 2011.
"It's 69 tragedies, 69 families really who were affected by this," said Ted Minall, the director of the Governor's Highway Safety Program. "I think we had nine from the end of November. That's always tough for the family with Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don't think those families will ever be the same when it comes to the holidays again."
The statistics show that nine drivers who were killed were suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, three under the influence of drugs, and seven under the influence of both.
Of the total, 24 weren't wearing seat belts.
Minall told The Burlington Free Press that despite the spike in fatalities in 2012, the 10-year average is going down.
"I think the trend has continued to go down despite the spike last year," Minall said of the 2012 number, adding that the national number of fatalities also dropped by 25 percent. He called 2012, "an anomaly."