SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Highway Patrol troopers are pleading with drivers to slow down and calm down after seeing an increase in fatal accidents on state roadways.
Troopers say excessive speed and aggressive driving are literally becoming a matter of life and death in Utah, especially as the so-called "100 Deadliest Days" of summer are set to begin.
"We’re very concerned going into this holiday season, going into summer,” said Lt. Nick Street.
Dashcam video shows drivers cutting off vehicles, then darting back across all lanes.
“That aggressive, reckless behavior, the things that we’re seeing the poor behaviors on the roads when it comes to pursuits, when it comes to individuals engaging in road rage, all of those things we are seeing higher numbers of then we saw pre-pandemic,” Street said.
Other video shows drivers who slam on brakes, then speed up in the middle of a busy freeways.
“We get in the cages of our cars and it seems like we’re not seeing other human beings," said Street. "You know, behavior we would never do as we’re pushing a shopping cart in a grocery store, like getting right up on somebody or something like that as human beings when we are interacting.”
As of Monday, there’s been 98 fatal crashes resulting in 106 deaths statewide. Compare that to all of last year, when in all of 2020 there were 75 fatal crashes with 81 deaths across Utah.
Troopers are also ticketing more drivers than ever for going 100 mph or faster.
"Bumping that accelerator from 80 to 100 should be something you notice as things are flying by you outside of your vehicle at almost warp speed," explains Street. "You need to have the wherewithal to understand that, I need to slow down.“
Drivers who believe they might be able to get out of a ticket with a warning should think again, Street says.
"UHP is not likely to address reckless/aggressive driving behaviors to include tailgating, unsafe lane movements and high speeds with anything other than a citation."
“Drive like you would want others to drive around you."