Two fatal crashes as ‘100 Deadliest Days’ begin in Utah; Troopers urge motorists to wear seat belts

Posted at 3:58 PM, May 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-24 23:43:14-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- It’s only three days into what the Utah Department of Transportation calls the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer”, and there have already been two fatal crashes.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers said it was a bad weekend on Utah roads, as there were several serious accidents. Many of those who were injured were not wearing their seat belts.

“This has been a really horrible start to 100 Deadliest Days,” UHP Trooper Evan Kirby said.

Friday around 10:30 p.m., a Pontiac struck a parked semi on I-80 in Tooele, and on Sunday morning troopers responded to a fatal crash near Coral Reef in Wayne County.

“Basically a driver drifted off of the road, over-corrected, and rolled, was not wearing his seatbelt and died from his injuries,” Kirby said.

This weekend alone has seen at least three rollover ejections, meaning seat belts are not being worn.

“And that’s horrible to see this early into the 100 Deadliest Days when we try so hard to get people to wear their seat belts,” Kirby said. “It’s really discouraging and it’s so important.”

Troopers believe two of the three rollovers are possibly the result of impaired driving.

“It’s a horrible combination to not be wearing your seatbelt and to be impaired,” Kirby said.

As a part of its public safety campaign regarding the 100 Deadliest Days, UDOT is using electronic billboards to raise awareness and educate drivers. In addition, Utah Highway Patrol has added an additional 200 troopers to the roads.

“That’s a huge number of extra troopers out working the road,” Kirby said. “We’re doing all we can to keep people safe, but we really need the public to buckle up.”

The summer months from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend tend to be the deadliest days because it’s the most common time for road trips, however, all of the accidents over the weekend involved either local residents or single occupants.

“I think people just make excuses for not wearing their seat belt, there’s always an excuse to not wear it, but it’s such a simple thing to do that could literally save your life and save your family so much heartache and grief,” Kirby said.