Motor vehicles are prevalent in the United States. As of 2020, there were over 275 million registered vehicles in the United States. Since 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has promoted safe driving and transportation safety to save lives. Yet, despite their efforts, traffic crashes remain one of the most common causes of accidental deaths in the U.S. That’s why the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) launched the Zero Fatalities program.
What is the Zero Fatalities Program, and what is its goal?
Since 2006, UDOT has used the Zero Fatalities program to promote driver responsibility and safety awareness. While many think car accidents are inevitable, UDOT’s Zero Fatalities program strives to change how people think about them. Zero Fatalities believes it’s unacceptable for anyone to die in a car accident.
Utah’s number of fatalities declined steadily from 281 in 2016 to a low of 248 in 2019. However, fatalities rose in 2020 and overtook 2016 numbers in 2021, with 328 auto accident deaths that year.
What five common daily driving behaviors contribute to fatalities on Utah roads?
Dozens of driving behaviors and external factors, such as bad weather, can cause a traffic crash resulting in injuries and deaths. However, accident investigations have identified these five driving behaviors responsible for most traffic fatalities in Utah:
Frustrated motorists may engage in aggressive driving when caught in traffic. Aggressive drivers may tailgate other vehicles, speed, or use their headlights or hand gestures to intimidate other motorists.
Distracted driving refers to behaviors that take your focus off the road. A texting and driving accident is an example of a distracted driving accident. You can also be distracted if you attempt to read while driving, program a GPS device, or adjust your sound system.
Many people wrestle with fatigue, mainly if they work late or drive long distances. Drowsiness can interfere with a driver’s ability to stay alert and respond to changes in driving conditions in time to prevent accidents. They may cause an accident if they don’t notice stop signs, fail to stop at red lights, or don’t see animals or motorists on the roadway.
Alcohol and drugs can inhibit a driver’s ability to respond to changes in road conditions. The State of Utah prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle when they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more. This law also applies to prescription, legal, or illegal drugs.
Not Wearing Seat Belts
Since 1968, most states have required drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. Seat belts hold people in place when they’re in a car crash. Without seat belts, drivers and passengers may be ejected from the vehicle during an accident, increasing the risk of severe injury or death. The NHTSA reports seat belts saved almost 15,000 lives in 2017.
What are Utah’s deadliest days of the year for road fatalities?
Although poor weather can cause traffic accidents and fatalities, 87% of fatal accidents in Utah happen on dry roads, and 72% occur during fair weather.
While 19% of traffic fatalities in 2021 affected people 20-29 years of age, people 40-49 accounted for 16% of fatalities, while 15% involved people ages 30-39. Another 14% of fatalities were adults ages 60-69.
The 100 days from Memorial Day until Labor Day are Utah’s 100 deadliest days. The number of fatal accidents doubles during this time. Drivers going on vacations are less vigilant and more likely to be involved in a distracted driving accident.
When it comes to holidays, Halloween and Pioneer Day are the deadliest holidays on Utah roads. Labor Day and Martin Luther King Day are the third and fourth deadliest holidays.
What steps can we all take as individuals to make Utah roads safer?
Improving traffic safety and preventing accidents starts with awareness. Leave early and give yourself extra time to reach your destination to avoid frustration from delays. Ensure you get enough rest and use hands-free devices while driving. Wear your seat belt and use public transit if you’ve consumed alcohol or drugs.
Remain vigilant and monitor pedestrians to avoid getting into a pedestrian accident while driving. Check your mirrors regularly for bicycles and motorcycles to avoid getting into a bicycle or motorcycle accident.
What are some of the organizations helping to reach the goals of the Zero Fatalities Program?
Support from organizations helps raise awareness about the UDOT Zero Fatalities Program. Organizations educating students and adults and promoting the program’s beliefs and objectives include:
- Bear River Health Department
- Central Utah Public Health Department
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Davis County Health Department
- Safe Kids Utah County
- Truck Smart
- Utah Department of Health
- Utah Department of Transportation
- Utah Department of Public Safety
- Utah Highway Patrol
- Utah Safety Council
- Utah State Office of Education
How can attorneys help you after a car accident?
You may have grounds to pursue a personal injury claim if you’ve been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one in a fatal crash. Contacting a personal injury law firm and talking to car accident lawyers in Utah is crucial. Accident lawyers can explain your rights and legal options. You can rely on your legal team to help you deal with insurance companies and handle legal matters with the courts.
Our team at Good Guys Injury Law features the best accident lawyers Utah has to offer. Our attorneys bring years of experience to your case. We use expert insights to prepare personal injury cases and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Request a free consultation or call our offices today to discuss your case and find out how we can help you receive compensation for medical bills, property damage, and other expenses stemming from your car accident.
2021 Fatality Statistics. (2021).
Number of motor vehicles registered in the United States from 1990 to 2020. (2022).
Seat Belts. (2022).