Road fatalities in Utah have increased in the last month, due in part to warm weather. Of course, warm weather doesn’t cause accidents, but it does entice more people to go places, meaning more vehicles on the road. Also, motorists tend to speed much more in the summer. These two factors combined make the summer months more accident friendly.

According to KSL, highway fatalities increase by 35% in the summer months. The latest slew of fatal accidents in Utah has UDOT concerned, and it has issued a warning to drivers to slow down and to wear seat belts.

UDOT spokeswoman, Tania Mashburns commented, “It is the easiest thing you can do when you get into your car. You might not be able to prevent the crash, but you might survive if you wear your seat belt.”

Five fatal accidents happened on Memorial Day Weekend alone, and just in the last 10 days, seven fatalities involving automobile accidents have occurred in Utah.

One of those fatalities was motorcyclist Brett Blanco, who was hit by an SUV in Provo Canyon. His son, who was riding on the motorcycle with him, was wearing a helmet and survived the collision.

Others have been lucky enough to escape death, like Shawn Winters. Two weeks ago Winters was involved in a head-on collision in Saratoga Springs. He broke his hand and still needs knee surgery because of the accident, and attributes his seat belt to saving his life.

Winters says the accident has given him a new perspective on distracted driving, saying, “Is it that big of deal to slow down and wear your seat belt?” He also spoke out against checking your phone while driving.

Indeed, it is not worth risking someone’s life over a phone call or being 10 minutes late to an appointment. It’s helpful to turn your phone off when in the car so you won’t be tempted to pick it up. But if you must keep it on, pull to safety before using it. There is no safe way to use a phone while driving, even if it is hands-free.

This year Utah has seen 60 highway fatalities so far. While this number is down from last year, KSL’s Sam Penrod reminds us that “behind every fatality is a heartbroken family.” Even one automobile fatality is too many.

Christensen & Hymas specializes in personal injury law, including those cases that involve reckless driving. If you have been injured in an accident due to drunk driving, speed, or other negligence on the part of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation.

Please call us at (801) 506-0800.

Photo copy right of Shuets Udono