CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Utah drivers rank high on studies about bad driving behaviors

Aug 31, 2023, 8:30 AM | Updated: 8:42 am

SALT LAKE CITY -- Drivers in the Beehive State are showing up on some pretty bad lists about bad dr...

FILE: Getty Images.

SALT LAKE CITY — Drivers in the Beehive State are showing up on some pretty bad lists about bad driving behaviors. One study claimed we’re the seventh worst state for cell phone crashes. Another said Utahns have the second highest rate of fatal crashes where speed is a factor.

A recent video put this bad driving on blast after a driver cut off another vehicle repeatedly in Eagle Mountain.

Utah’s bad driving behaviors

Sgt. Cameron Roden with the Utah Highway Patrol said we’re usually guilty of more than just one bad behavior.

“It’s not just you know, speed or following too closely,” he said. “You start to combine them with other bad driving behaviors such as distracted driving and it just makes things so much more dangerous.”

Roden said Utah has made progress in reducing the number of people driving impaired, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. 

“We don’t drive impaired, we don’t take those chances,” he said. “We make a plan beforehand to get home and always have a sober ride.”

He said one of the worst things we’re doing is speeding. To put this in perspective, Roden said if you increase the speed of a car by just five miles an hour, the damage and injuries in a crash could go from minor to substantial. 

“When you start to do 10 miles an hour, 20 miles an hour, even 30 miles an hour over, those crash forces go up exponentially.”

However, after a spike during the pandemic, there has been a decrease this year in crashes due to extreme speed, as well as a reduction in the number of drivers speeding over one hundred miles an hour.

Roden also noted that there has been a decrease in the number of incidents of drivers getting on the freeways heading the wrong direction. 

“But we can’t accept and become complacent and tolerate those ones. Because most of the incidents that we see result in serious injury or fatality.”

See it? Say something 

If we’re driving on the road and see examples of bad behavior, Roden said it’s important to let someone know. 

“If it’s something that is a danger to everybody, is gonna cause an accident, then your best thing to do is call 911,” he explained. “Call and report that so law enforcement can take action and get that vehicle stopped so it doesn’t continue to present a danger to others.”

He said if we’re going to fix things — it has to start with each individual driver.

“Driving is a full-time job. You need to make sure that your attention is on driving so you can be aware of things that are going on around you so that you can spot a hazard such as another driver that may be on their phone or road hazards that you’re coming up on.”

“We’ve seen road rage incidents and things that are well within our control,” he continued. “It’s a reminder for us that we can all do better. It doesn’t only affect us but it affects everybody around us.”

Clayre Scott contributed. 

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Utah drivers rank high on studies about bad driving behaviors