CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Utah has the second highest rate of speed-related fatal crashes

Aug 29, 2023, 8:00 PM

Image of a Utah Highway Patrol trooper monitoring freeway speeds in Davis County, Utah. New researc...

FILE: Utah Highway Patrol trooper Tara Wahlberg monitors motorists' speeds during a multiday enforcement effort in an I-15 construction zone in Davis County on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. New research found that Utah has the second-highest number of speed-related fatal crashes in the nation. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has the second-highest number of speed-related fatal crashes in the nation. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 26% of all fatal crashes in the state had a speed-related contributor.

This includes going over the speed limit and sometimes, going the speed limit but faster than road conditions permit.

“The faster you go there’s more forces involved in the crash if it were to occur,” Roden said. “Those forces can be transferred to the occupants of the vehicle. So there is a more likelihood that you are going to be seriously hurt or killed in a crash.”

Utahns admit driving over the speed limit

A fatal crash involving a speeding vehicle can end with a second-degree felony and more than $10 thousand in fines.

Despite the possible fines, Utahns admit to speeding. A self-report survey this year found Utah drivers are going over 100 mph at least six times a month.

“We’re consistently seeing speed being related to the contributors in our crashes and in our fatalities,” Roden said. “Over the last several years we’ve seen consistent extreme speeds over 100 mph.”

How much is a speeding ticket in Utah?

To combat this trend Utah enacted a new law. Since May of 2022, anyone clocked at a speed of 105 mph or higher can be charged with reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor. Any speed violation over 100 mph will cost an extra 50%.

KSL.com reports that a ticket for going over 100 mph in a 70 mph zone will cost $570. Driving over 100 in a 65 mph zone can cost you upwards of $760.

Some Utah drivers are getting the message

Roden said they’re seeing a little bit of progress on Utah roadways.

“We are seeing an improvement in those extreme speeds this year a little bit,” Roden said. “It’s not as much as we’d like to see.  We’d like to see people voluntarily comply and not have to have law enforcement stop them … With speed, there’s so many unintended consequences.”

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Utah has the second highest rate of speed-related fatal crashes