Distracted driving fight hits a big roadblock: we won’t give up our phones

Apr 14, 2021, 4:55 PM
distracted driving Zero Fatalities...
Commissioner Jess. L. Anderson speaks at the virtual 2021 Zero Fataltities Summit. (Screengrab, Facebook)
(Screengrab, Facebook)

SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly half of Utahns would sooner give up sex than their cell phones for a year, according to the Utah Department of Transportation at its annual 2021 Zero Fatalities Summit, which focused on distracted driving.

Distracted driving a growing problem

According to UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras, there are three types of distractions faced by drivers — manual, visual, and cognizant.

“Cognizant distractions deal with the task of listening, conversing, daydreaming, or just becoming lost in thought,” Braceras said. “In this form of distraction, the driver is mentally distracted.”

Utah drivers agree that distractions cause problems. A UDOT survey found that 80% of Utahns questioned believe distracted driving is the greatest cause of accidents.

Still, putting down one of the chief distractions — cell phones — apparently wouldn’t be easy.

“45% of folks said they would rather give up sex than their cell phone for a year,” Braceras said.

Other troubling trends 

The numbers may convince Utah drivers to do as the Zero Fatalities program asks, and put away distractions behind the wheel. Some takeaways:

  • In 2020, 276 people died in car accidents, an 8.6% increase over 2018 and 2019;
  • So far in 2021 there have been 67 crashes resulting in 74 deaths statewide.
  • Also in 2021, there have been 20 pedestrian fatalities in Utah (the average for the first three months of 2017-2020 was 8.5 pedestrian fatalities.)

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson said that the above numbers are an indicator of the “reckless behavior that people are willing to put themselves in, and others.” 

“It’s unacceptable,” he said.


Today’s Top Stories

All News

A new Utah population estimate finds that most of the people that moved to or within Utah between J...
Simone Seikaly

Utah population update: 60K+ people have moved here since 2021

The Utah population spike noted this year is the greatest increase in 16 years. However, growth is expected to decline going forward.
16 hours ago
Ballet West "Nutcracker" battle scene....
Waverly Golden

Ballet West continues longstanding tradition, The Nutcracker

Until Dec. 24, Ballet West will be showing performances of The Nutcracker at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City.
16 hours ago
video game...
Elizabeth Weiler

BYU students win international award for video game

SALT LAKE CITY — Students apart of the animation program at BYU received international recognition from the Rookie Awards for developing and producing a video game. Additionally, the “Highly Commended” also helped BYU earn the global ranking of fifth top video game design school.  The interactive computer game in question is titled Liminus: The Silent Guard, it […]
16 hours ago
provo police car is pictured, the department is investigation a hit-and-run...
Samantha Herrera

21-year-old woman killed in Provo hit-and-run

21-year-old Isabelle Parr was identified as the victim of a hit-and-run in Provo on Thursday. Police believe she was hit while jogging.
16 hours ago
lake effect snow really did a number on the wasatch front this morning...
Jennifer Gray, CNN meteorologist

Back-to-back winter storms bring heavy snow, critical fire conditions to the West

Two winter storms in less than a week will bring more than a foot of snow to the mountains, wind gusts of over 70 mph leading to the possibility of a wall of dust and the high danger of fire to the central and western US.
16 hours ago
Erin mendenhall and two men are pictured at a podium speaking about crime statistics in salt lake...
Samantha Herrera

Project Safe Neighborhoods successfully lowering crime according to Salt Lake leaders

Crime in Salt Lake City has been the focus of Project Safe Neighborhoods for the past two years. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall praised the project.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Distracted driving fight hits a big roadblock: we won’t give up our phones