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New study ranks Utah 2nd in deadly high-speed crashes

Posted at 4:03 PM, Aug 24, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — A new study has revealed Utah as the state with the second-highest rate of high-speed fatal crashes, beaten only by Wyoming.

Research done by business litigation and personal injury lawyers Heninger Garrison Davis analyzed data compiled in 2021 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find which state had the highest proportion of fatal crashes where speed was a contributing factor.

Wyoming ranked number one with 28.34% of fatal crashes known to have high speeds be a contributing factor, Utah ranked close behind with 26.62% with Virginia ranked third with 26.49%.

In contrast, Idaho only had 4.1% of total fatal crashes to have high speeds be a contributing factor.

According to Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant Cameron Roden, Utah has seen an upward trend of high-speed fatal crashes since 2020, a year before the NHTSA FARS 2021 National Dataset that Heninger Garrison Davis referenced.

"2020 is where we really saw that dramatic increase and we've seen some improvements in 2023 due to some legislative changes," said Roden. "But it's still something that's way too high."

Specifically, the incidents of speeding across Utah where drivers were found to have gone well over 100 miles per hour. Often times get into serious accidents and even fatal crashes.

In Heninger Garrison Davis's study, Utah's 26.62% of total fatal crashes leave the state with a rate 53.41% above the national average for high-speed fatal crashes.

“The faster you travel, the less time you have to react to developing situations on the road, making a collision much more likely. Traveling at a higher speed also makes it significantly harder to stop or maneuver around a collision ahead of you," commented a spokesperson for the law firm.

They also believe leaving an appropriate amount of space between your vehicle and those around you also give you more time to react to changing circumstances, including a possible collision ahead of you.

"We can't enforce our way out of this problem," said Roden. "We need the public's compliance and self-compliance to be able to make a difference in those fatal crashes and fatal numbers."

Sgt. Roden believes one opportunity will be during the Memorial Holiday where law enforcement expects to have more drivers on the road.

"There's going to be impaired driving enforcement, speed enforcement all going on throughout the holiday weekend," said Roden. "We'll be out there to do our part but we definitely need to work together."