UTAH

Fatal crashes on Utah highway drop year-over-year

Jul 3, 2019, 3:10 PM | Updated: 3:12 pm
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SALT LAKE CITY — There has been a 60% drop in fatal crashes on Utah’s highways over the past year, and the Utah Highway Patrol says there are several reasons why.

UHP reported 12 fatal crashes between Memorial Day and July 2nd this year, compared to 30 in 2018.

Sgt. Nick Street says the fear of being caught above Utah’s .05 blood alcohol level is making people think twice before getting behind the wheel if they’re drunk.

“You’ve got reports from troopers talking to people [in early 2018], they thought the law was already in effect. We don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing because it started to change behavior,” Street says.

Street also credits the popularity of ride-sharing apps like Uber, as well as public transportation, with helping put a dent in fatal crashes.

“A lot of people are feeling that social pressure that if they’re going to consume alcohol, they’re planning ahead,” Street says.

Cars are also getting safer, according to Street, with more features to help drivers stay in their lane.

One area where Utah drivers could improve is distracted driving, Street says, with too many texting or putting on makeup behind the wheel.

“They’re not going to admit it right after they crash, but we also know just anecdotally that crashes happen for a reason because they took their focus off driving their car,” Street says.

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Fatal crashes on Utah highway drop year-over-year