Number of 100 mph speeders cited in Utah nearly doubles in four years

Jan 12, 2023, 6:10 PM | Updated: Jan 13, 2023, 3:39 pm

MURRAY, UtahUtah drivers admit to speeding over 100 mph more than any other drivers, according to a recent national survey. That does not surprise the Utah Highway Patrol, which pulls over more lead footed drivers all the time.

Statistics show the number of Utah drivers pulled over for going more than 100 mph has nearly doubled in four years. State troopers said the problem keeps growing in spite of steeper fines.

“We definitely see a huge increase when it comes to excessive speeds,” said Sgt. Lawrence Hopper, who supervises a crew of troopers on patrol. 

Drive the speed limit on Utah’s interstates and it doesn’t take long for nearly all vehicles to pass you, some driving 90 or 100 mph. In 2018, UHP handed out 3,300 tickets for exceeding 100. 

“Then, just last year, we had over 6,300. So, we’re almost doubling it in the space of four years,” Hopper said. 

That’s more than 17 drivers a day, and they’re not catching most of them.

When Hopper prepares his crew for patrol, excessive speeding is a primary focus.

“Speed is the number one cause of fatalities here in the state of Utah, and obviously, the faster you go, the more serious your injuries are going to be, and the more fatalities we’re going to be dealing with,” the sergeant said.

He recently stopped a car doing 124 mph on Interstate 215, and another motorist exceeding 100 in a snowstorm. 

“He was on his lunch break, and he wanted to get home quickly so he could have lunch and then get back to work,” Hopper said. “There’s never a good reason to be going that fast.“

Fines rose 50% in May — an effort by Utah lawmakers to curb the problem.  

If you’re pulled over doing 100 in a 65 mph zone, it’s a $760 fine. In a 70 mph zone, $570. In an 80 mph zone, $315. 

At 105 mph, drivers now face a reckless driving charge — a class B misdemeanor, rather than an infraction like in the past. But the sergeant said the speeds keep accelerating.

“We certainly do cite them with that new law, but sometimes, it doesn’t discourage people.”

Enforcement and education are their best tools as they search for solutions. 

“Maybe even let them know, ‘Hey, somebody at home loves you. Somebody wants you to get home. Slow down for them,’” Hopper suggested. “If you’re not going to slow down for any other reason, slow down because you have a family that wants you to be home with them. That should be a good enough reason, in my opinion.”

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Number of 100 mph speeders cited in Utah nearly doubles in four years