Troopers concerned with increase in fatalities as summer season ends

LOGAN — As the summer months come to a close, law enforcement agencies are ramping up their efforts to keep people safe while driving. Officers, deputies and troopers will be working extra shifts during the Labor Day weekend, watching for distracted, impaired and drowsy drivers.

Traditionally, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is referred to as the 100 deadliest days on the roads. Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Perry said during those three months in 2014, there were 97 fatalities in the state. This year, there has already been 105 deaths.

“This has been a rough, rough fatality year this year,” said Perry. “Just in our area alone, we patrol Section 1 which is Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties, we are even up one fatality this year over what we had last year at this time.” 

During the Labor Day weekend, troopers will be focusing some of their extra efforts in Logan and Sardine Canyons, and along I-15 and I-84 in Box Elder County.

Perry said those areas are where they expect to see an increase in the number of motorists, and has been where some of the recent fatal accidents have occurred.

“The big things we are going to be looking for is obviously people not wearing seat belts, people who are speeding or being aggressive out there and people who are fatigued and distracted,” said Perry. “Those are going to be the key components that we are going to have our troopers out there looking for.”

There have been six fatalities in Cache, Rich and Box Elder counties since Memorial Day. Of those, troopers believe four of them were likely caused by drowsy or distracted drivers.

Perry said the numbers show, drivers need to take time to rest before travelling, especially if they are going to be recreating during the holiday weekend. That will help reduce fatigue and drowsiness.

“You are alert, awake and ready to go out there and have fun,” said Perry. “Then when you get ready to return home, return home before you get too tired.”

“So don’t spend all day Monday recreating and get extremely worn out and tired, then get in a car and start home and fall asleep or have something bad happen on your way home from a great holiday weekend.”

Perry said two other fatalities this summer have been motorcyclists. He suggested anyone who rides a bike also needs to be well rested. He also encouraged them to wear visible clothing so they can be seen, wear a helmet, and don’t drive aggressively.

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