ROAD TO ZERO

Why are so many Utah drivers speeding down highways at more than 100 mph?

Mar 30, 2022, 6:25 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 5:22 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s a problem we’ve heard about all too often lately. Utah drivers are going way too fast and oftentimes the wrong way.

The Utah Highway Patrol is trying to figure out why it’s happening and they’ve come up with a theory.

UHP troopers could probably triple the number of tickets they have been writing, but Cpl. Geoffrey Parker prefers a more educational approach.

“This is just a warning, it’s not a ticket, OK? You almost went off into the dirt there, so it was pretty close,” he said to one driver he pulled over Wednesday afternoon in Salt Lake County.

He saves tickets for when drivers do something really wrong.

Lately, that’s been happening a lot more.

“It definitely feels different. Just as we’re driving down the freeway, we have people just blow past us,” he said. “It seems people have become very comfortable with driving a lot faster.”

Since the beginning of 2022, state troopers have pulled over more than 1,300 drivers going at least 100 mph.

“That’s where we get a lot of our crashes, is just people going too fast or following too close and not paying attention,” said Cpl. Parker.

Wrong-way crashes have also increased.

Parker was first on scene at one of the worst of them.

He pointed out the spot on northbound Interstate 15, just south of South Salt Lake. “It took the life of a young lady on her wedding night from a wrong-way driver and that was just right there,” he said.

Wrong-way crashes and speeders are issues UHP administrators are trying to figure out.

They think the pandemic might have something to do with it all.

“Our roadways just saw a huge difference, and so initially, it was just that the roads emptied,” said Lt. Jalaine Hawkes.

Emptier interstates almost encouraged drivers to go faster.

However, as things started getting back to normal, many of those drivers continued to drive faster and didn’t slow down as traffic increased.

“We’re looking at a lot of people who have bad habits, and those bad habits are starting to show disturbing results,” Hawkes said.

Hawkes also noted the number of crashes has decreased, but the severity of crashes has increased.

She believes that’s because of increased speeds.

That’s why troopers like Parker have been talking to as many drivers as possible.

He wants to help and try to break those bad habits before another one turns deadly.

“Our purpose is to help you get home safe,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Road to Zero

A Kaysville police officer stopped a wrong-way driver on I-15. (Tanner Siegworth, KSL TV)...

Josh Ellis and Emma Benson, KSL TV

Kaysville police officer stops wrong-way driver on I-15

A Kaysville police officer crashed head-on into a car to stop a wrong-way driver on Interstate 15 early Friday morning.

20 days ago

Interstate traffic...

Katija Stjepovic

New campaign underway to prevent road rage in Utah

The Utah Department of Transportation and Department of  Public Safety launched a new campaign Tuesday addressing Utah's road rage problem.

2 months ago

(FILE) A Lyft driver waiting for their passenger. (KSL TV)...

Emma Benson

Officials remind you to celebrate responsibly this New Year’s Eve

The countdown to 2024 is on, and law enforcement is reminding Utahns to celebrate responsibly this weekend.

2 months ago

Graeson Coughenour, a University of Utah student who survived the wrong-way crash in Parleys Canyon...

Andrew Adams

‘Everything happened so fast:’ Survivor of Parleys Canyon wrong-way crash urges caution

One of the drivers injured in a deadly Wednesday night wrong-way crash in Parleys Canyon urged others to be ready for whatever is just down the road.

3 months ago

The 'Plan a Sober Ride' campaign sign at a Salt Lake bar....

Katija Stjepovic

UHP stresses the importance of sober driving during holiday season

Several Utah agencies are urging holiday drivers to drive safely by giving bargoers a discount for a ride back home.

3 months ago

(Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)...

Karah Brackin

Third wrong-way crash in four days part of troubling trend on Utah roads, UHP says

A wrong-way crash that left one person dead and two injured in Parleys Canyon is part of a troubling trend on Utah's roads, state troopers said Thursday.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Why are so many Utah drivers speeding down highways at more than 100 mph?