SALT LAKE CITY — It's a Utah mystery that confounds the officials who are on the frontlines of the states roads and highways.
Despite a drastically lower number of drivers out on the road because of the pandemic, more people died on Utah roads in 2020 than they did in 2019.
UTAH ROAD DEATHS:
- 2019 - 248 deaths
- 2020 - 281 deaths
The increase in 2020 deaths occurred even though there were fewer crashes (52K) last year than in 2019 (62K).
Lt. Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol told FOX 13 that not only were death totals higher, but a number of other hazardous driving statistics ticked up, even with less people driving.
UHP reported there were nearly 2,000 more drivers clocked at traveling over 100 miles per hour in 2020 than there were the year prior. Pursuits in 2020 were also up 30 percent over those in 2019.
In 2019, there 16 reported road rage incidents in Utah, a number that nearly doubled to 31 in 2020.
Street says it's possible that with fewer people on the roads due to people staying at home during the pandemic, drivers get more brazen and pay less attention when traffic is virtually nonexistent.
The 281 deaths are those that occurred on all Utah Roads. Street said that deaths on the state's highways actually decreased in 2020 by 10 over 2019.