Utah fatalities in 2021 highest since 2002
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol said Wednesday that 320 people died in crashes on state roads last year, the most in 19 years. It was also a 15.9% increase over 2020.
The two agencies said the data showed increases in all the wrong areas.
“Fatalities on our roads, we haven’t seen them as high as this last year since the year many of us remember as the year we hosted the Olympics in 2002,” said Carlos Braceras from UDOT.
It’s part of an upward trend in 2021. A quarter of the 320 deadly crashes were speed-related. The statistics also revealed 120 of the crashes involved impaired drivers.
We met with media today to report the sobering news that there were more fatalities on our roads during 2021 than any year since 2002. Speed-related and impaired driving deaths are up, while seat belt usage is down. Yes, Zero Fatalities is possible but only if we all drive safer. pic.twitter.com/FX9rEDAG58
— Carlos Braceras (@CarlosUDOT) January 5, 2022
Col. Michael Rapich with the Utah Highway Patrol said, “They’re not just numbers, they’re significant. They have huge impacts. They destroy lives, they’re violent, they’re terrible and horrible. Our troopers get to see that every day.”
One statistic dropped but it was still bad news.
“Is the decrease in the number of drivers wearing their seatbelts,” said Braceras. “That is such a no-brainer, the one thing every single one of us can do as soon as we get into the vehicle.”
He said a third of the crash deaths could have been avoided had those people buckled up.
While roads and cars have never been safer, UDOT and UHP said roads would be safer if more drivers buckled up, slowed down, and drove sober.
Zero Fatalities also announced a new campaign that will hit billboards, TV, and online in the coming weeks.
It’s called “Destinations” and it will focus on seatbelts and following traffic laws.
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