ROAD TO ZERO

UDOT: 264 People Died On Utah Roads Last Year

Jan 25, 2019, 12:29 PM | Updated: 9:32 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The number of people dying behind the wheel in Utah is down for the second year in a row, but there were still 264 fatalities on Utah roads in 2018.

Emily Prior is one of many heartbroken widows who lost a loved one on Utah roads last year.

“It’s hard to not have him here and be able to walk through life with him hand in hand,” she expressed after her husband, Tyrel Prior, died in a motorcycle crash last August.

She misses him every day. “His sense of humor, his smile, his heart,” Emily Prior described.

Tyrel Prior was on his way home from work when a woman turning left onto I-15 didn’t see him from her truck. Tyrel Prior was struck and died from his injuries.

“Just watch for them. It takes another 2 seconds,” Emily Prior begs of drivers.

Tyrel Prior is not alone. Last year, 47 motorcyclists were killed — the highest number Utah has ever seen, according to Zero Fatalities. Sadly, that’s not the only problem.

Utah Department of Transportation released fatality numbers from 2018.

Utah Department of Transportation released fatality numbers from 2018.

Utah Department of Transportation released fatality numbers from 2018.

Utah Department of Transportation released fatality numbers from 2018.

 

Utah Department of Transportation deputy director for engineering and operations Jason Davis explained the importance of drivers staying alert.

“People are using their cell phones when they shouldn’t. And they’re driving distracted and it’s causing crashes and it’s taking lives,” he said.

Davis said distracted and drowsy driving continues to be a substantial contributor to the problem. He said 94% of crashes happen because of human error.

Utah Highway Patrol Col. Michael Rapich also urges people to be responsible.

“Over 90% or fatal crashes come down to choices. Well, that’s choice to put on the seat belt. Well, that’s a choice to drink and drive, whether it’s a choice to be driving much faster than everyone else, and aggressive driver,” Rapich said.

UDOT reported 17 fatalities due to distracted driving, although Rapich explained those numbers are underrepresented since it is difficult to always identify distractions in fatal crashes.

Utah Department of Transportation released fatality numbers from 2018.

Utah Department of Transportation released fatality numbers from 2018.

While UDOT is proud to announce a 3.3% decrease in roadway fatalities from 2017, it is still calling for increase measure of safety from all drivers.

Davis said the decision is in each driver’s hands.

“And if you make a good decision, put your cell phone down, you’re probably going to save some lives,” he said.

With a little more work, Davis said it’s possible.

“We had more days without a fatality last year, 187 versus days that a fatality occurred … If we can educate the drivers and they make good decisions, then that number is going to go down, our fatality number is going to go down and that zero number is possible to achieve,” he explained.

Utah Department of Transportation released fatality numbers from 2018.

Utah Department of Transportation released fatality numbers from 2018.

Last year, Utah only saw 50 seatbelt fatalities compared to the 87 people who died without a seatbelt on in 2017.

“That’s probably the biggest single-year decrease that we’ve seen — at least as long as I’ve been paying attention,” Rapich said. “That is huge.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Road to Zero

(Spanish Fork Fire Department)...
Josh Ellis, Karah Brackin, & Ladd Egan

2 killed in separate Utah Co. crashes; 1 injured after hitting school bus in Clearfield

Emergency crews responded to fatal crashes in Saratoga Springs and Spanish Fork Canyon while two crashes caused heavy delays in Davis County Monday morning.
2 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Maryland State Police)...
Ayanna Likens

How to make sure your child’s car seat is properly installed

It's Child Passenger Safety week, and it's crucial that your kids are properly buckled in before you hit the road.
6 days ago
A collection of 45 pairs of shoes honors the 45 individuals killed in auto-pedestrian crashes in Ut...
Jed Boal

45 killed in auto-pedestrian crashes honored with 45 shoes

A collection of 45 pairs of shoes honors the 45 individuals killed in auto-pedestrian crashes in Utah last year.
14 days ago
...
Shara Park

Trauma surgeon gives sobering perspective as Utah wraps up its 100 Deadliest Days

While the number of Utahns killed during the summer months is slightly down compared to last year, we're still seeing a record number of people killed on our roadways. KSL's Shara Park looks at the concerning trends and shares a perspective from someone who has dedicated his life to saving yours.
20 days ago
...
Mike Anderson

Utah community raises funds to protect school crossing guards

People in one Cache Valley community are working together to protect their crossing guards. This comes after one was struck in a hit and run.
26 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Karah Brackin

UDOT, DPS reminding drivers to be safe this Labor Day weekend

Utah road crash survivors also shared their stories as the state continues on the Road to Zero Fatalities.
27 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
UDOT: 264 People Died On Utah Roads Last Year