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Friday December 02, 2022 Salt Lake City, UT Alerts: I-70 Fatal Crash READ

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Highway Safety

Press Release

Protecting Utah

UDOT and DPS: 320 fatalities on Utah roads in 2021

Wednesday January 5, 2022

This is the largest number of fatalities on Utah roads since 2002. Whatever’s going on in your life – please don’t take it out on the road. Taking risks behind the wheel comes with serious and deadly consequences. New media campaign to launch this winter.

Media: link to press kit

Utah roadway deaths by year chart shows 329 deaths in 2002 and 320 in 2021 with fluctuating numbers in between, but 2002 and 2021 are the two highest years in that chart.

Today, UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras and UHP Col. Mike Rapich appealed to the public to be safer drivers in 2022.

Carlos Braceras:

The last two years have been hard for all of us. We’ve all lived through a lot of changes and challenges. Many have experienced health issues, economic struggles, social issues, political unrest, natural disasters, the list goes on and on. 

At the same time, many of us have had to change the way we work, go to school and interact with others – it’s an understatement to say there have been a lot of changes, demands, and stresses in our lives in the last two years. 

It’s not a stretch to say this stress is also taking a toll on our roads. In 2021 we’ve seen increases across the board. 

Aggressive and speed-related fatalities are up, we’re seeing more impaired driving deaths, people aren’t buckling their seat belts as much. 

Utah’s seat belt use rate dropped to a five-year low, from 90.2 % in 2019 to 88.2% this year. At the same time, unbuckled fatalities and serious injuries increased by 54.6% percent (174 in 2019 to 269 in 2021).

I know that Zero Fatalities seems like an impossible number. But Zero Fatalities on Utah’s roads IS possible. To some, this goal may seem unrealistic and unattainable. Let me be the first to say, reaching Zero Fatalities will NEVER be easy. We are facing an uphill battle. But the bottom line is there is absolutely no other answer and no other choice. Zero is the only acceptable number.

Col. Mike Rapich

Too many Utahns are comfortable driving above the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions. 

  • UHP made over 123,000 speed-related traffic stops.
  • Over 4,700 citations for 100 mph+

Aggressive driving comes in a lot of forms – none of which are acceptable. Behaviors like following too closely, weaving in and out of traffic, not signaling, driving unpredictably, or being rude/angry with others on the road can be deadly. 

Increase of Impaired Fatalities

Impaired driving is totally preventable. Make the right choice on the front end, and plan for a sober ride home.  If you do choose to drink, please don’t drive.

  • 61 Alcohol-Related Fatalities in 2021.
  • The average BAC for DUI arrests was 0.165 (More than 3x the legal limit. 
  • 66% of our DUI suspects also had drugs on board. 

Increase in Teen Driver Involved and Teen Fatalities

Finally, never drive distracted.  This year, UHP cited over 2,000 drivers for using a mobile device while driving. It is your responsibility to make the right choice to drive alert. 

Please don’t wait for a crash to learn the importance of safety. Choose today to obey speed limits, buckle up, drive focused and make safety your most important priority. Choose today to stay alert and sober. We can reach Zero Fatalities if everyone took each one of these ideas seriously. We can all find ways to improve and be better drivers today. 

More statistics

fatalities on Utah roads 2021
233 were motorists
37 were motorcyclists
44 were pedestrians
6 were bicyclists
lives lost on utah roads in 2021
speed related deaths were 81
impaired driving deaths were 120
unrestrained deaths were 74
and teen deaths were 30

New “Destinations” campaign to launch this month, brought to you by safe driving

To encourage safer driving on our roads in 2022, Zero Fatalities will kick-off a safety education campaign in middle January called, “Destinations.”

This campaign captures the beauty of Utah’s outdoor recreation, the joy of family and friend gatherings and reminds everyone that the way to experience these wonderful moments is through safe driving.

This campaign will be seen on social media, billboards, online, and TV… all focused on reminding people to travel safely. 

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MEDIA CONTACT

Hillary Koellner
Director of Public Affairs
Department of Public Safety
hmkoellner@utah.gov

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