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Fatal DUI crashes double in Utah in 2020 from the year before

File Photo: Field Sobriety Test
Posted at 7:43 AM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 09:43:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Almost twice as many people died in crashes involving alcohol on Utah roads in 2020 as did in 2019.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that while pandemic lockdowns may have led to less commuter traffic, they didn’t lead to safer roads.

There were 32 fatal crashes involving alcohol in 2019 and 61 in 2020.

READ: Utah launches 'Summer Safely' campaign ahead of 100 deadliest days on roads

There was a 9% increase nationally in alcohol-involved fatalities, according to the United States Department of Transportation.

Robert Miles, UDOT’s director of traffic and safety, told the Tribune it’s too soon to know for sure why fatal crashes went up, but he said the pattern has surprised even traffic experts.

“I think ... most people thought if there is less traffic on the street there will be fewer fatalities, there will be fewer crashes,” Miles said. “We saw fewer crashes, but we saw more fatal crashes.”

READ: UHP Trooper’s leg broken by DUI suspect at state capitol early Saturday morning

Miles said the extra road space created by reduced traffic may have caused people to think they could drive faster or be less attentive.

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