Deaths on Utah roads down over Pioneer day weekend compared to last year

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jul 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-25 23:31:32-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY – The Utah Department of Transportation reported three deaths on Utah roads over the Pioneer Day holiday weekend.

A motorcycle crash in Midvale claimed one life and a head-on crash in Duchesne claimed two others. That’s compared to nine deaths during the Pioneer Day holiday weekend last year.

John Gleason, UDOT spokesman said while the trend is going in the right direction, one death is always one too many.

“It’s hard to really celebrate any good news when you’re talking about traffic fatalities. I think you need to find those bits of optimism and bits of hope that you can kind of look at," Gleason said.

According to Gleason, 12 fewer people have died on Utah roads than this time last year. In 2017, there were 127 crashes and 142 fatalities. In 2016, there were 141 crashes and 154 fatalities.

But, on average, one person dies on Utah roads every day during what’s known as “The 100 Deadliest Days.” That’s the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

“We were hoping for a zero fatalities weekend. That didn’t happen,” said Sgt. Todd Royce with Utah Highway Patrol.

During the July 24 weekend, troopers worked 255 extra shifts. They made 3,273 traffic stops, which resulted in 33 DUI arrests. Troopers wrote 2,000 speeding tickets, 611 seat belt citations and investigated 142 crashes.

“If you decide to drink, don’t drive. And a lot of people got that message. This weekend we had no DUI-related fatalities,” said Royce.

But Royce said the percentage of drug-impaired drivers is going up.

“If you’re taking a prescription, they can impair you. Be very aware of that. Make sure you consult with a doctor before you ever drive," Royce said.

Troopers encourage people to obey the speed limit, buckle up, don’t drive while impaired or drowsy, and get rid of distractions.

“If you find yourself with any of those bad habits, please change them,” said Sgt. Royce. “It can be the difference between life and death.”

For more information about the Zero Fatalities program, click here