ROAD TO ZERO

Extra officers to patrol Utah roads in April looking for distracted drivers

Apr 11, 2024, 1:31 PM | Updated: 1:43 pm

LINDON — Law enforcement agencies across Salt Lake and Utah Counties announced Thursday that officers and Utah Department of Safety troopers are working extra shifts on Utah roads with unmarked vehicles to patrol for distracted drivers.

The blitz comes at a pivotal time. 

So far in 2024, Utah has reached over 940 crashes caused by distracted drivers, many of whom were texting while driving, officials said. 

Stop for Students: The dangerous distances you drive when distracted 

Maj. Steve Salas with Utah Highway Patrol said on any day troopers are on patrol catching distracted drivers who are not 100% focused on driving. 

“People are distracted. Texting, checking emails. Looking things up on their phone,” Salas said. 

It is why year after year, officers listen, hop on, and head out for a Distracted Driving Blitz.

 This includes officers in unmarked vehicles. 

“If you get that unmarked vehicle next to people, you can see their behavior. You can actually capture it,” Salas said. 

Throughout the month, 44 police agencies across Utah are working over 400 additional shifts focused on distracted driving enforcement.

“Utah’s population is increasing. Our registered vehicles are increasing. Our highways are busy,” Salas said.

If you think you see more patrol, you would be right, as the Highway Safety Office triples enforcement efforts this year.

The Distracted Driving Blitz comes just before the 100 Deadliest Days, a period on Utah roads when fatalities tend to see a significant rise.

Patience can change Utah’s 100 deadliest days

This is another reason to send that text later. 

“Just stay off your phone, unless you need it for an emergency. If you need to call in and report something, or it’s a medical emergency just stay off your phone while you’re driving on the highway,” Salas said.

Thursday, spotters will mainly be covering the Wasatch Front and I-15.

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Extra officers to patrol Utah roads in April looking for distracted drivers