Utah sees increase in fatalities compared to last year during ‘100 Deadliest Days’

Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 19:38:46-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The time period referred to by state officials as the "100 Deadliest Days" on Utah roads ended Monday night, and the news isn't good.

The stretch of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends was deadlier than last year, with Utah's roads averaging a death each day. A total of 109 people died on Utah roads. That’s an increase of 12 from the same time period last year, and each of those numbers has a face and a family.

“We're heading in the wrong direction, and that's not only extremely frustrating, but it's heartbreaking as well: especially for these families that are losing loved ones,” said John Gleason, a Utah Department of Transportation spokesman.

In 2014, 97 people lost their lives during the "100 Deadliest Days." This year, that number jumped to 109.

“That’s 12 more families that are dealing with this unthinkable grief,” Gleason said.

Troopers say the usual things are causing the crashes: People who are drunk, drowsy or distracted as well as those traveling too fast.

“We're hoping people can change their habits and/or we can get out and help people, through enforcement, see errors in their ways and be safer drivers out there,” said Sgt. Todd Royce with Utah Highway Patrol.

The victims are young and old drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.

“It's not an accident," Royce said. "It's preventable. You know,  a lot of the habits we can get into, and we can change this trend. We can change it to there are Zero Fatalities, at least in your family."

For the rest of the year, the focus will continue to be on the Zero Fatalities campaign to prevent families from losing their loved ones.

Total fatalities year-to-date are also up. Utah is at 196 for the year so far, and that's 16 more than last year during the same time frame. Fifty-seven percent of those who were killed were not properly restrained.

Authorities said they want to remind everyone to drive safely and always wear seat belts, so everyone can get home alive and uninjured.

Click here to learn more about the Zero Fatalities campaign.