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Troopers: Thunderstorms only make high speeds more hazardous

Aug 2, 2023, 10:45 PM | Updated: 10:50 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Thunderstorms that surfaced Wednesday have increased the road danger as troopers have already been working to slow down high speeds and bad road behavior on Utah freeways.

“You’ve got drivers over the posted speed limit driving with standing water on the road,” UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden said. He drove an unmarked cruiser and observed other drivers with a KSL 5 crew. “Your chances of hydroplaning go up significantly even in just wet and rainy conditions.”

Roden said high speeds on their own are still a major issue troopers are trying to address. KSL News has reported on dangerous cases recently that Roden noted.

“You would think that something that high would be completely crazy for somebody to go that fast,” Roden said.

Roden said it’s part of an increasing trend that UHP has been attempting to counter in recent years, beginning with the pandemic.

“That Covid-19 timeframe is when we really saw things dramatically increase to where we were seeing over 5,000 instances a year. Troopers were stopping cars for over 100 miles per hour,” he said. “We still get troopers regularly that tell us, ‘hey, we’re still getting speeds that high.’”

Roden said it was still too early to tell how effective changes in the law made last year would be in discouraging high speeds. Those changes included increased fines and classifying speeds 105 miles per hour as reckless driving.

He acknowledged as much as troopers worked around the clock to make freeways and highways safer, there weren’t enough troopers to catch all of the bad behavior and he urged others to help police themselves.

“We can’t rationalize, ‘hey I can do that 5 to 10 over, I can go a little bit over because that’s what everybody else is doing,’” Roden said.

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Troopers: Thunderstorms only make high speeds more hazardous