Will It Be You? Nearly 1 Person Dies On Utah Roads Every Day
It sure seems like there's a news story about a fatality on Utah roads every single day lately. As it turns out, it doesn't just seem like it -- there actually is a road fatality just about every day here in Utah.
There are nearly 3.5-million people in the state of Utah now. With nearly 3-million cars in our state, that means pretty much every licensed driver that wants access to a car can get it.
And with more than 100,000 miles of roads to travel in our state, there are certainly plenty of places to go.
Unfortunately, some of us will never make it to our planned destinations.
With deaths due to car accidents on Utah roads averaging more than 300 per year the last couple of years, the sobering fact is that nearly one person dies every single day while driving or riding in a car in our state.
“We encourage everyone to resolve to drive safer,” says Sgt. Cameron Roden, Utah Highway Patrol Public Information Officer. “Resolutions focus on making small changes over a long period of time to form habits and improve quality of life. Those habits are formed by starting with the fundamentals. So just like you would with other resolutions, we want to go back to the basics.”
The state road fatality toll the last three years is 276 in 2020, 322 in 2021 and 319 in 2022. So far in 2023, 75 people have died on our roads in 109 days or about two deaths every three days. With the deadly days of summer driving ahead, we're pretty close to that same pace once again (data from Utah Department of Transportation website).
To further break it down, last year's 319 roadway deaths include 201 motorists, 50 motorcyclists, 53 pedestrians and 15 bicyclists.
UDOT offers these "Back to Basics" tips to try and help slow down this flood of fatal encounters.
- Buckle up. No matter the distance, weather, vehicle, or time of day. Resolve always to wear a seatbelt and wear it properly.
- Watch your speed and abide by the speed limit when road conditions are good. When the roads get wet, snowy, or icy, adjust your speed to a safe speed that will help you to maintain control.
- Use your blinker every time you make a turn or change lanes.
- Review the rules of the road, like zipper merges and proper railroad crossing. The signal to cross a railroad safely is when the lights stop flashing, not the raised barriers.
- Commit to giving semi-trucks space: two headlights in the rearview mirror or stay clear.
- Parents – teach kids safe pedestrian habits, like wearing reflective gear and choosing a safe route to school.
- Drivers – make a special effort to completely stop and look at intersections. Twelve children (ages 0-9) were killed on Utah roads last year.
UDOT and DPS are regularly learning and implementing strategies aimed at increasing safety on our roads for all users. Visit zerofatalities.com to access resources to educate, review and teach safe road habits.