ROAD TO ZERO

Traffic deaths declined slightly in 2022, most were men

Jan 5, 2023, 1:24 PM | Updated: 1:41 pm

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — On Thursday, Utah Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety released the preliminary 2022 traffic fatality numbers. Reports showed that there were 320 lives lost on Utah roads from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022.

While this is 12 fewer lives lost than in 2021, the road to zero fatalities continues into the new year.

One of the big issues the departments said they faced over the year included speed.

The DPS said that officers saw over 6,300 drivers going over 100 miles per hour, not including the speeders that they did not catch. They said while they cannot catch everyone, the number of drivers who went speeds like this are even higher. 

UDOT, DPS, and Utah Highway Patrol, said the rise in risky behaviors, such as aggressive driving, frequently result in fatal crashes.

Of the 2022 fatalities, 77 were female while 243 were male. 

This year, they said the numbers have been more pronounced between male and female drivers than previous years. They said a lot of that is stemming from aggressive driving tendencies.

“A message to our male drivers, you know folks like me, we need to take our foot off the gas, and we need to really focus on calm driving and getting to where we’re going safely,” John Gleason, UDOT Public Relations Director said. “And not just us, but everyone else on the road as well.”

One aspect all departments are focusing on for the new year is vulnerable road users, which includes people who are least protected on the road. That is, if a crash happens, the chance of losing their life is greater, whether it be a motorcyclist, pedestrian and/or cyclist.

Out of the 320 fatalities, 118 of those falls into that vulnerable category. 

“Speeds that fast, they increase the risk substantially to everyone involved. Being able to survive those crashes, or at least be seriously injured go up substantially,” said Sgt. Cameron Roden, DPS and UHP Public Information Officer.

They said the state is trending in the right direction when it comes to wearing seatbelts, as more people are wearing their seatbelts on the road.

In recent past years, that number was around 88%, but it’s now up to around 92%, and while that number can fluctuate they said it is a sign the state is heading in the right direction. 

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Traffic deaths declined slightly in 2022, most were men