SALT LAKE CITY — Utah officials are pleading with drivers in the state to slow down, buckle up and not drive drowsy or impaired.
The message comes as the "100 Deadliest Days" of the year are set to begin. The period refers to the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal vehicle accidents tend to increase.
Last year was a particularly bad year and officials say drivers have to do better.
Utah is currently on a record-setting pace with 116 fatalities already this year, and officials stress that those are not just numbers, they are people.
People like Jordin Petersen Seamons, whose husband died in car crash just before Christmas 2018. Seamons, her husband Devin and their young daughter, were on their way to see the lights at Temple Square when a driver fell asleep at the wheel, crossed over into their lane of traffic and hit them head-on.
“My husband‘s death was something that was 100% preventable and never should have happened," said Seamons. "He didn’t die from a disease or natural causes, he died because we got in the crossfire of someone else’s irresponsible choice.
"A driver had fallen asleep after only having three hours of sleep the night before, she had falling asleep at the wheel, crossed over and didn’t even wake up until their car was also veering off the road.”
Utah Highway Patrol troopers said they hope to improve on the number of drivers who die during last year‘s 100 deadliest days. Speed and impairment continue to be major factors with nearly 5,000 tickets issued in 2021 for speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
Seamons said reliving her painful event is excruciating; however, she’s willing to share her story to spread the word about taking responsibility when behind the wheel. And if it causes even one person to make a better choice, she’s going to keep speaking out.