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Memorial Day weekend marks beginning of ‘100 deadliest days’ on Utah roadways

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Posted at 6:31 PM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 23:39:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, but it’s also the start of the 100 deadliest days on Utah roads.

University of Utah AirMed paramedics see firsthand the deadly accidents that happen, that’s why they’re joining up with The Utah Department of Transportation and The Utah Highway Patrol’s Zero Fatalities campaign. Paramedic Nathan Morreale said they’re seeing more critically injured patients.

“When AirMed is called to the scene of an accident, that means that someone is critically injured,” Morreale said. “Coming into the scene, we get a unique view on what has actually taken place,”

UHP said in 2015 there were 111 fatalities during the summer months, part of a five-year upward trend that needs to stop.

“We’re tired of it. It’s out of control,” said Col. Daniel Fuhr of the Utah Highway Patrol.

Fuhr said the message hasn’t changed: People still need to buckle up, slow down, and avoid distractions. But, while the messages hasn't changed, the urgency has. Fuhr said drivers can expect them to crack down this summer.

“They’re going to be very aggressive,” Fuhr said. “Just Monday night we kicked off the 'Click it or Ticket' campaign, we had 150 troopers out working seat belts, we wrote nearly 800 contacts for seat belt violations.”

The 100 deadliest days of summer starts Memorial Day weekend and lasts through Labor Day. The Utah Department of Transportation hopes drivers will work on changing just one habit to make the roads safer.

“If you don’t buckle up, wear that seat belt; if you text and drive, put the phone down--anything we can do to reach our goal,” said UDOT spokesperson John Gleason. “That’s what we need to do.”

For more information on the Zero Fatalities campaign, click here.