ROAD TO ZERO
Deaths Increase This Summer On Utah Roads
Sep 5, 2018, 1:48 PM | Updated: Sep 6, 2018, 5:06 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The number of deaths on Utah roads this summer left 102 families without a loved one, and this number could increase if folks still fighting for their lives pass away.
It’s a tally equally devastating and frustrating for police who said so many of these crashes could have been avoided.
On Wednesday, officials with Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah Department of Transportation released this much higher “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” statistic, complete with a calendar marking how many deaths occurred on each day between May 25 and Sept. 3.
Last summer, there were 90 deaths on Utah’s roads.
“Troopers, they go out to the scenes,” said UHP Col. Michael Rapich. “They see what happened on the scenes. They investigate those. They figure out why it happened, and then before they’re done they still have the responsibility of going and meeting with every single family and explaining to them why their loved ones aren’t coming home. We did that far too many times — 102 times — just in the ‘100 Deadliest Days of Summer.'”
“The consequences of not wearing your seatbelt, it’s not adding numbers to this board. It’s lives that can be taken and lives that can be saved, so you should always wear your seatbelt, and never speed. Don’t text and drive. Just be safe.”
Factors people can control played a part like drinking and driving, wearing a seatbelt, and speeding. On the Road to Zero Fatalities, UDOT urges drivers to avoid these deadly driving behaviors all year long.
He said five people died just on Labor Day weekend alone in three crashes, and all of them involved alcohol.
Eighteen-year-old Mariana Sablan said she is thankful she or her boyfriend were not one of those statistics.
She shared her story of driving between Lehi and Tooele when her car rolled three times.
“After we sort of calmed down and got it together, he looked at me and said, ‘Seatbelts just saved our lives,'” said the University of Utah student.
Sablan said she wasn’t speeding on this July day, rather her boyfriend asked her a question and the next thing she remembered was the car was rolling.
“It was a weird transition to go from, ‘Wow we’re OK,’ to realizing that really we shouldn’t be OK and that we’re very fortunate to be OK,” said Sablan, who shared her story in hopes drivers will smarten up.
“The consequences of not wearing your seatbelt, it’s not adding numbers to this board,” Sablan said. “It’s lives that can be taken and lives that can be saved, so you should always wear your seatbelt, and never speed. Don’t text and drive. Just be safe.”