Utah's roads seeing more construction, more distraction

Posted at 5:42 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 21:01:21-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Barricade Company worker is fighting for his life in a hospital after being hit by a truck on State Route 201 Monday morning in Magna.

The exact cause is still under investigation.

Still, Utah’s roads are seeing more construction and more distraction.

“We have 175 projects throughout the state. This is the time of year that people are going to see orange construction barrels out there, our workers out there, that are doing great work to improve the situation on our roads," said John Gleason with the Utah Department of Transportation. “These workers are on the front lines; they’re out there trying to improve our lives. We need to do everything we can to make sure they’re safe."

Gleason said Monday's accident underscores the importance of paying attention, especially when you see orange.

“More and more, we’re seeing people that are speeding through the work zones, that are distracted through the work zones and just aren’t paying attention,” he said.

The Utah Safety Council has seen an increase in drivers needing to take a defensive driving course. This is required for drivers with certain citations, including failing to move over for an emergency vehicle or flashing lights.

READ: Driver disputes citation after being rear-ended by UDOT truck

“In the past year we have seen, I don’t want to say a staggering increase, but enough that everyone is taking notice, the amount of drivers that we need to accommodate,” said John Wojciechowski with the Utah Safety Council.

Wojciechowski said that through the time he’s spent educating drivers over the years, he's learned that most of these road accidents are preventable.

“Oftentimes we get drivers that come to the class, and they are upset that they have to take it in the first place, but 100 percent of them leave with a better understanding of how to behave and be a safer driver on Utah’s roads,” he said.

“If you’re driving the same stretch of road 200 times, there’s this false sense of security that 'I’ve done this so many times,' but we need to remember that traffic conditions can change all the time,” said Gleason.

At the latest update, the worker who was hit is still alive in the hospital in critical condition.

Officials have not yet announced whether the driver will face any citations or charges in this crash.