POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

New Utah road rage law would allow better case tracking

Jun 4, 2024, 5:00 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2024, 9:00 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A new Utah law that enhances penalties for road rage citations would also allow for better tracking of road rage cases among law enforcement agencies and statewide. 

But it doesn’t take effect until July 1. Therefore, it won’t apply to two high-profile cases of road rage that resulted in death in the last week on the Wasatch Front. 

New road rage law takes effect July 1 in Utah

Lawmakers approved changes to Utah statutes earlier this year to beef up penalties and tracking for road rage, and the governor signed that legislation into law in March

Back in January, Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson told KSL NewsRadio’s Adam Small that road rage crashes had jumped 11 percent in 2023 from 2022. 

“…To a total of 805 incidents that are road rage related. That’s an increase over 716 the prior year before,” Anderson said.  

Utah Highway Patrol officials could not provide numbers for road rage crashes for 2024 year-to-date. In part, that’s because no specific violation applies. Once the new law takes effect, however, it should become much easier to track them as their own violation, UHP said. But recent road rage deaths in Lehi and Clearfield illustrate the growing problem. 

“It’s really problematic when, as a law enforcement body… we get called to situations where so many people who [sic] like to blame each other, right?” Anderson said. “And it’s always the other person’s fault.” 

Not just a Utah problem

Anderson said nearly everyone can attest to the frequency of road rage. 

“I think that we’ve all seen it, right? Everyone’s experienced some sort of frustration at some point, or some sort of aggressive nature while we’ve been driving,” he said. 

In fact, data analyzed by Forbes Advisor shows 15.5% of Utah drivers say they’ve encountered a situation where another driver exited a vehicle to confront them. The publication reached that number by comparing data about drivers from all 50 states, and partnering with the market research firm OnePoll to survey 10,000 drivers.

Ultimately, Utah drivers came in at #21 on the Forbes Advisor ranking of the states with the most confrontational drivers. Arizona’s drivers ranked worst, with 31.5% of drivers reporting a confrontation where another driver exited a vehicle. The most polite drivers could be found in Delaware, Forbes Advisor concluded. 

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New Utah road rage law would allow better case tracking