LOCAL NEWS

Utah fatalities in 2021 highest since 2002 

Jan 5, 2022, 3:24 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 7:00 pm

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.

The report showed 30 teens died in 2021 crashes and 74 of the victims did not have a seatbelt on.
Police have also seen an increase in aggressive driving and speeders in general. In fact, more than 4,500 people were caught going over 100 miles per hour and UHP contacted 123,000 people for speeding violations.

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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Utah fatalities in 2021 highest since 2002