In a “zero fatalities” report issued yesterday, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) blames 71 of 219 roadway deaths in 2013 on people not wearing seat belts. That is disproportionately high percentage of the deaths that occurred on Utah roads last year. The silver lining revealed by the report, is that Utah’s 2013 roadway casualties only exceeds those of 2012 by two. The 2012 casualty number is the lowest since 1959.
That said, the bottom line is that almost half of Utah’s fatal accidents, excluding motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, involved motorists who did not buckle up. In fact, statistics indicate that a person in a motor vehicle who does not buckle up is 40 times more likely to die in an automobile crash than if they wear the proper restraint. Distracted driving because of texting or talking on the phone, as well as driving drowsy or under the influence are also major contributors to the fatality rate, but they trail behind the failure to buckle up.
Other notable statistics from 2013 are:
- Aggressive driving – 50 deaths;
- Impaired driving – 28 deaths;
- Drowsy driving – 12 deaths;
- Distracted driving – 11 deaths;
- Car or truck accidents – 152 deaths;
- Motorcycle accidents – 31 deaths;
- Pedestrian accidents – 30 deaths;
- Bicycle accidents – 6 deaths
- Men – 63% of deaths; and
- Women – 37% of deaths
The message is clear: Buckle up, put the phone down and stay unimpaired while behind the wheel.
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.