SALT LAKE CITY -- Friday marked the first official day of what the Utah Department of Transportation calls the “100 Deadliest Days” of summer. Their annual campaign for public safety is changing a bit this year, and you might have already noticed UDOT’s new strategy.
Drivers noticed multiple electronic signs blinking over I-15 starting Friday. They read: 2 of 7 Days Zero Fatalities on Utah Roads. The translation: Utah saw at least one fatality on our roads all but two days this week.
"Quite frankly, it’s unacceptable,” said John Gleason, who is a UDOT Spokesman. “We want to do whatever we can to make sure we do whatever we can to achieve our goal of zero fatalities on Utah roads.”
So far, 2015 has been a pretty deadly year on Utah roadways. As of Thursday, 89 people have lost their lives in car crashes, compared to 73 people by this same time last year.
"That’s a 22 percent increase, and that’s a very big concern going into this time of year that we call the 100 Deadliest Days," Gleason said.
There were 97 people who were killed last year during the 100 Deadliest Days, which covers the most popular summer holidays from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
“This weekend is really the kick-off to summer travel, a lot of people will be hitting the roads this weekend and throughout the summer,” Gleason said.
More people on the roads means a higher probability for accidents. This year, UDOT will roll out a new strategy to raise awareness. Electronic signs over the freeways will be used to inform and warn drivers.
“That they need to be buckling up, that they need to avoid aggressive driving, drowsy driving, distracted driving, and all of those behaviors that are contributing to deaths on our roads,” Gleason said.
The Utah Highway Patrol plans to crack down harder this year, and impaired driving will be the big one they look out for as we head into this holiday weekend. There will be checkpoints as well as more officers on the roads.
For more information on Utah's goal of "Zero Fatalities", click here.