According to statistics reported today in the Salt Lake Tribune, deaths on Utah’s highways declined in 2010 for the third straight year. The numbers reported by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) detail 235 deaths in 2010, 244 in 2009, and 276 in 2008. The report also highlights that the 2010 number is the lowest since 1974 when 228 deaths were recorded. A quick reference provided to the numbers is:
Since 1947 (the first year highway death statistics were recorded):
Highest number of fatalities was 386 in 1978 and 382 in 1972.
Lowest number of fatalities was 174 in 1949 and 186 in 1947.
The information reported by UDOT also indicates that deaths on Utah’s highways have consistently dropped over the years when variables such as driven miles and population changes are taken into account. In 2010, the death rate was 0.93 per 100 million miles driven as opposed to 9.36 deaths per 100 million miles driven in 1948.
The report, however, is not without some concerning numbers. Between October and December 2010, 67 people died on Utah’s roads which is a 52 percent increase over the year before; unusual given that fatalities normally decline during this period because winter driving conditions lead to reduced speeds.
One reason for the declining fatalities numbers overall is likely the Zero Fatalities campaign sponsored by UDOT and the Utah Department of Public Safety. The campaign highlights the top five contributions to fatalities as:
- Aggressive Driving
- Impaired Driving
- Not Wearing Seatbelts
In fact, statistics show that 40 percent of those killed on Utah’s highways were not buckled or were not buckled properly. No matter how you look at them, the numbers add up to a recipe for safer driving: slow down, stay aware and buckle up.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.