SALT LAKE CITY — As traffic fatalities are rising on Utah’s roads, Zero Fatalities is urging Utahns to stop justifying bad behaviors and start making one small change today to save lives.
According to preliminary estimates from the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), traffic fatalities in 2020 increased by 11 percent to a total of 276, while the number of cars on the road decreased by 13 percent.
Utah isn’t alone in this troubling trend.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2020 the number of miles driven on public roads reached its lowest point in nearly 20 years, yet there was an 8% increase in fatalities from the year before, according to the National Safety Council. This year in Utah isn’t looking much better — 47 people have died on Utah’s roads so far in 2021.
In a press release, UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras said the numbers are unexpected and a cause for concern. He recommended that if each driver makes one small change today like ignoring that text or buckling up, it will save lives.
Monday UDOT and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) launched a new campaign to combat the rising number of fatalities despite fewer vehicles on the road.
The campaign is based on new research that gives insight into why Utahns behave the way they do behind the wheel. The research overwhelmingly shows Utahns care about safety on Utah’s roads.
It also reveals Utahns believe the dangerous decisions they make behind the wheel are acceptable. Because of this, they make excuses and little lies to justify those reckless behaviors.
Nationally, bad behaviors contribute to 94% of all crashes. To combat this, together UDOT and DPS lead the Zero Fatalities public outreach effort, a year-round program designed to educate the public about the five deadly driving behaviors:
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving, which includes driving too fast
- Drowsy driving
- Impaired driving, including drugs even if they’re prescriptions
- Not wearing seat belts
To help inspire lasting behavior change, Zero Fatalities recently launched a new website, including new videos and resources to help educate drivers.