UHP stresses importance of seat belts after deadly holiday weekend

Posted at 6:38 PM, May 26, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY — The Memorial Day weekend was a dangerous one on Utah roads.

There were nearly 200 crashes including one that killed a driver.

Utah highway patrol says the holiday weekend was a bad start to what they call the “100 deadliest days.” There has been a deadly or critical injury crash every day since Thursday.

“That’s a family that someone had to go inform them that their loved ones would never return home,” said UHP Col. Danny Fuhr.

Troopers responded a rollover Sunday near Capitol Reef National Park in Wayne County. UHP says the driver was not wearing his seat belt, was ejected from the car and died at the scene.

“We see a vehicle crash like this the one that occurred where the individual lost his life — we look at the cab of the vehicle and say, ‘this is survivable,’” Fuhr said.

Crash after crash, UHP says, not only could a life have been saved by wearing a seat belt but more than half of reported injuries over the weekend could have been less severe.

“There’s many in the hospital right now who are suffering critical injuries because of the result of not wearing a seat belt. Our hearts go out to the families,” Fuhr said.

This increase in crashes over the holiday weekend happened despite the more than 700 troopers patrolling Utah roadways.

“That’s what’s so hard for us because we’re working so hard to prevent that from occurring then to have it actually occur, it hurts,” Fuhr said.

But troopers say they did all they could to keep the roads safe.

Here are the number of stops and arrests made over the holiday weekend:

-4,380 vehicles were stopped

-55 DUI arrests

-2,729 speeding tickets issued

-612 seat belt violators educated

“If last year is a predictor we will average one death per day over the next 100 days — so help us. Wear your seat belts, wear your seat belt, wear your seat belt — we can’t stress it enough,” Fuhr said.

UHP plans to spend more than $100,000 to increase the number of patrols and DUI stops throughout the rest of the 100 deadliest days.