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More than 260 people died on Utah roadways last year

Posted at 12:09 PM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 14:09:13-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Officials with the Utah Department of Public Safety, the Utah Department of Transportation and Zero Fatalities have released statistics about traffic fatalities in the Beehive State for 2018.

Last year, 264 people died in crashes on Utah roadways. That number is down 3.3 percent compared with 2017. Of the 264 people who died, 175 were in cars, 47 were on motorcycles, 39 were pedestrians and three were bicyclists.

"[That's] 264 death notifications where a police officer came and gave really horrible news to a family because of a crash that, most of the time, didn't need to happen, because of making bad choices," said Col. Mike Rapich, UHP.

Fatalities on Utah roads have been lower than the national average for at least 13 years, according to a graph released Thursday by Zero Fatalities.

The number of alcohol-related fatalities dropped by nearly 50 percent in 2018. There were 36 alcohol-related fatalities in 2017 and 19 alcohol-related fatalities in 2018.

Zero Fatalities raises awareness about five common issues that contribute to deaths on roadways in Utah and other states. Those are: drowsy driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, alcohol impairment and not using seat belts.

"There's always going to be those knuckleheads out there that are making poor decisions and putting others in jeopardy. So that's when I sure like it when I see those flashing lights and they're pulling over someone that's making poor decisions and putting both myself and my family and friends' lives in jeopardy," said UDOT engineer Jason Davis.

In 2018, there were 15 drowsy driving-related fatalities, 17 distracted driving-related fatalities, 82 aggressive driving-related fatalities, 19 alcohol impairment-related fatalities and 50 fatalities for unrestrained drivers and passengers.