Highway Safety - Hot Topic
November 25, 2013
14,263 More Utah Drivers Buckling Up in 2013
Females, Van Occupants and Summit County Have Highest Seat Belt Use Rates
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s seat belt compliance rate climbed slightly in 2013, reaching 82.4 percent up from 81.9 percent in 2012. This means 14,263 more Utah motorists are buckling up than were last year. It is estimated that of these new restraint users, 629 will be involved in a motor vehicle crash this year in which their choice to be restrained might be the difference between life and death.
However, significant gaps in usage rates between urban and rural areas, male and female occupants, and vehicle type remain. The results of the observational survey conducted by the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office show that males, rural area residents and pickup truck drivers are the least likely to be buckled up. While these areas showed small increases in use in 2013, they remain the lowest use groups.
Seat belts reduce the risk of injury and death by 70 percent when used correctly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "As the seat belt usage rate increases, it means more Utahns will survive crashes and families won’t be torn apart by these preventable tragedies,” says Kristy Rigby, Utah’s occupant protection program manager. “Our challenge is to encourage those who continue to put their lives at risk to buckle up."
The 2013 study was conducted in June in 17 counties. During the survey, 26,123 drivers and front seat passengers were observed. Highlights of the study include the following:
Statewide seat belt use rate in 2013 was 82.4 percent, which is an increase of 0.5 percent from the 2012 rate of 81.9 percent.
Pickup truck drivers and passengers had the lowest usage rates in both urban (75.8 percent) and rural (59.1 percent) counties.
Passengers of vans had the highest usage rates (86.7 percent), followed by sport utility vehicles (86.1 percent), cars (85.1 percent) and pickup trucks (71.3 percent).
Females (86.7 percent) buckle up more often than males (78.9 percent).
Carbon (52.5 percent), San Juan (55.0 percent) and Millard (61.6 percent) counties had the lowest belt use rates.
Summit (94.3 percent), Salt Lake (88.7 percent) and Davis (86.0 percent) counties had the highest belt use rates.
For more information about the survey methodology, background and results, click here.
October 25, 2013
ZOMBIES SWARM UTAH MALLS, BARS AND NEWS OUTLETS TO PREVENT DRUNK DRIVING
Zombies partner with Utah Highway Safety and local law enforcement to share the scary consequences associated with drunk driving.
Salt Lake City, October 23, 2013 – Local law enforcement and Z.A.D.D. (Zombies Against Drunk Driving) have partnered for a second year with law enforcement in a campaign to remind Utahns of the chilling and possibly life-altering effects of driving under the influence of alcohol. On Friday, October 25, at 5 p.m., law enforcement officers and zombies will begin scaring the bajeebees out of anyone planning to drink and drive. The zombies and officers will visit the following locations to share the DUI-prevention message with Utahns who look to celebrate the Halloween season with a few drinks.
- October 25, 2013, locations and times: o City Creek Center South Temple entrance (5-6 p.m.) and Green Pig (6:30-7:30 p.m.)
- October 31, 2013 locations and times: o The Gateway movie complex (5-6 p.m.) and Lumpys Bar and Grill (6:30-7:30 p.m.)
In addition, law enforcement officers and zombies would like to visit your local news studio to share an on-air message for all Halloween celebrators on either October 25 or October 31 (times are open for news stations to determine).
During the Halloween season, law enforcement steps up patrols, increasing checkpoints to ensure that Utah streets are safe and drivers stay alcohol-free. Colonel Daniel Fuhr of the Utah Highway Patrol warns, “When drivers fail to be responsible, those few glasses of alcohol can quickly turn a fun evening into a scary nightmarePlan before you go out, and remember, whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many it’s just not worth the risk.”
Utah Highway Safety Director Dave Beach adds, “Halloween is an exciting night to celebrate with close friends and family. But no celebration should ever end with the scary consequences of drunk driving. Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver.”
In years past, Utah had nearly 300 highway fatalities, with a substantial number of those fatalities being alcohol-related. DUI Enforcement Mobilization is a statewide media and community outreach campaign focused on changing Utah citizens’ current perceptions and behaviors of driving under the influence of alcohol and reinforcing the message that impaired driving is one of America’s most often committed and deadliest crimes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign goal is to provide resources to communities to help keep their streets DUI-free.
October 23, 2013
Parents Can Cut Their Teens' Crash Risk in Half
A parent's approach to raising their teen may save their teen's life by reducing crash risk
Utah's nationally recognized Parents Empowered program to eliminate underage drinking demonstrates the effectiveness of parenting style on reducing alcohol consumption by teens. The program encourages parents to bond with their children, set boundaries for them and monitor their children. By being positively involved in their children's lives, parents can help keep their children alcohol-free. Since the program's inception in 2006, alcohol use among Utah's youth has declined.
It turns out that applying the same highly involved parenting style to teens with regard to driving can have similarly positive outcomes. In fact, parents can cut their teens' crash risk in half.
Authoritative parents: highly supportive and involved, set rules and monitor
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found that teens who identified their parents as authoritative - meaning they provide a warm supportive environment with clear boundaries and give their teens enough support to allow them to make good choices (GHSA) - reported engaging in fewer risky driving behaviors and had half the crash risk compared to teens who described their parents as less involved.
Teens with involved parents were
- 30% less likely to use a cell phone while driving
- 71% less likely to drink and drive
- twice as likely to wear seat belts
Parents can really make a difference with their teens by getting and staying involved in their teens' driving experience, setting and enforcing rules, and being supportive.
Parents are the keys to safe teen drivers.
October 22, 2013
Graduated Driver License Program: What Exactly Is It?
Laws designed to help youthful drivers gain experience before being exposed to high-risk situations aren't all that well known
Many people have heard of it - the graduated driver license, or GDL. But not too many people know exactly what Utah's GDL program does. And if more parents knew about it and knew the positive benefits of making sure their teens adhere to it, they could help reduce their teens' risks of crashing.
Utah's GDL is a set of laws that are aimed at helping make sure young drivers get experience before they are exposed to higher risk driving situations - such as driving at night or driving with passengers. Are driving at night and driving with passengers really that dangerous?
- The majority of fatal teen crashes take place at night.
- Two or more passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen at the wheel. (Find more info here)
- It's not just how the passengers act in the car - in one study, teens who knew they were being observed by peers were more prone to engaging in risky behaviors.
The two laws that deal with these high risk situations for teen drivers are
- During the first 6 months after teens get their license, they can’t have any passengers who aren’t immediate family members (Utah Code 41-8-3)
Under 17, no driving between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. (Utah Code 41-8-2)
- There are a few exceptions to both of these.
The Utah Department of Health's Violence and Injury Prevention Program created a chart to help parents know exactly what aspects of Utah's GDL apply to their teen.
Click here or on the picture below to view the full chart.
Parents can use these GDL laws to start a conversation with their teens about why driving at night and with teen passengers is higher risk. And by knowing the laws and making sure their teens adhere to them, parents can help reduce their teens' risk of crashing.
Parents are the keys to safe teen drivers.
October 21, 2013
The Keys to Safe Teen Drivers? Parents
It's National Teen Driver Safety Week, but the focus is on parents
It's a fact: teen drivers are more likely to crash than drivers of other ages - in Utah, they're 1.5 times more likely to crash. And even though they only represent 9 percent of licensed drivers in Utah, teen drivers accounted for 20 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in 2012.
Increasingly, research shows that parents play a critical role in helping teens survive their most dangerous driving years. But, do parents recognize this critical role they play? Do they know the risks for their teens? The answers are a mixed bag, but there is no doubt that all parents want to do what's best for their teen.
During National Teen Driving Safety Week, we'll feature messages and information about teen driving and what parents can do to help reduce their teens' crash risk. Come back during the week or follow us on twitter @utahdps_hso for updates to this page and more info.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has some quick parenting tips for helping to keep your teen driver safe. For full details, click here.
- Set clear rules, boundaries and expectations
- It's about safety, not control
- Be responsive
- Recognize your teen's need to become independent
- Let your teen know you can be counted on for help and support
- Pay attention
- Lead by example
Parents are the keys to safe teen drivers.
September 23, 2013
You've Heard of the Next Stop - What About the Text Stop?
Drivers in New York State will be reminded to leave their phones alone when they're driving as new signs direct them to "Texting Zones"
Could Utah use some of these signs?
Distracted driving is a serious and growing issue in Utah - in 2011, 4,860 distracted driver crashes occurred which resulted in 2,777 injured persons and 21 deaths.
Texting and driving is illegal in Utah, and St. George recently installed "No Texting" signs this summer to remind drivers of that fact. The signs were installed in conjunction with Leslee Henson, whose husband was killed in a distracted driving crash in March. The Henson family created a video about that crash with the hope that no other family will have to experience a similar tragedy.
Local, state and national entities will continue to utilize many different mediums - spanning all aspects of education and enforcement - to get the word out that it CAN wait.
September 16, 2013
Old Navy Retail Stores and the State of Utah Partner to Share Important Message About Your Children's Safety During Child Passenger Safety Week
Statewide child safety advocates and Old Navy retail stores use custom messages to remind Utahns that the proper fit—for car seats—will help keep their fashionable kids protected.
The Utah Department of Public Safety and Old Navy retail stores have teamed up to bring car seat awareness to all of Utah. Parents shopping in Utah’s Old Navy stores during Child Passenger Safety Week (September 15-21) will find a special message about car seats hanging from kids’ clothing.
Specially designed hanger tags will tell parents, “If your kid fits these clothes, your kid may fit this seat” and provide details about the four steps for automobile safety: rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, booster seat and seat belt. “All parents value the health and safety of their children, but unlike when kids outgrow their clothes, it can be difficult keeping track of when a child needs to move on to the next car seat or safety seat. We thought the hanging tags would be a great way to associate a child’s size, at Old Navy, with the safest way to ride in a car,” stated Patricia Chidster of Old Navy. “As the Old Navy team, we are proud to support such an important message for the safety of Utah’s kids.”
On Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 11:00AM, at the Old Navy store located at 1168 East 2100 South, Salt Lake City, local law enforcement, child safety advocates and management from Old Navy will formally present the safety campaign and share the details related to the protection of Utah’s youngest passengers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, child safety seats and booster seats reduce the risk of death in passenger vehicles by 71 percent for infants, and by 54 percent for toddlers ages 1 to 4. “As parents, the safety and well-being of our children is critical. We strive to protect our children from all possible dangers and threats. The same care should also be used when we secure our children in our automobiles,” said First Lady Jeanette Herbert.
“Knowing and using the proper child restraint device goes a long way in safeguarding your child while traveling on Utah's roads. Together, as Utah parents, we must commit to protecting our children by using the correct child restraining seats.”
During Child Passenger Safety Week, safety technicians will be providing free car seat inspections - offering parents and caregivers a chance to learn about the appropriate car seat for their children and the correct way to use it. Visit clickitutah.org or click here for a list of events throughout Utah or to find a car seat inspection station near you.
August 6, 2013
Overcorrecting - How to Avoid This Frequent Cause of Serious Crashes
Two videos from the Utah Highway Patrol provide information about how to avoid overcorrecting, a frequent cause of vehicle roll overs.
The Utah Department of Public Safety reported that a woman was killed in a roll over crash on I-15 near Fillmore over the weekend. The vehicle she was traveling in apparently drifted off the road, leading the driver to overcorrect, which caused the vehicle to roll.
In Utah in 2011
- 1,477 drivers had overcorrected as a contributing factor.*
- This included 39 drivers (17% of the 224 traffic-related fatalities in 2011) in fatal crashes with this contributing factor.
- There were 1,556 crashes where the first harmful event was overturn/rollover. This included 33 of the fatal crashes.
- Overturn/rollover was 5.7 times more likely to result in a death than other first harmful events.
The Utah Highway Patrol has two videos that provide drivers with information to help them avoid overcorrecting. One was created in conjunction with Zero Fatalities and one was created for the UHP's Teen Driving Challenge program. Both have information that can benefit drivers of all ages. We encourage drivers to watch these short videos and commit the recommendations to memory, so if a situation does arise, you won't panic and will know what to do.
The root cause of overcorrection and roll over crashes is usually an unsafe driving behavior, such as distracted driving or drowsy driving. A vehicle driver either looks away from the road to a phone or other distraction, or his/her eyes briefly close or head briefly nods from being tired. During these moments, the vehicle drifts out of its lane, and many times off the road. Most drivers' reaction is to panic - jerk the steering wheel and slam on the brakes. This jerking of the steering wheel is the overcorrection - instead of just smoothly steering the vehicle back onto the road, the driver jerks the steering wheel in a panicked manner to get back onto the road as quickly as possible. This can lead to the vehicle rolling over or entering oncoming traffic, both of which can have deadly results.
How can drivers avoid this serious mistake?
Firstly, drivers need to always stay focused on driving and if they feel tired, they need to get off the road. You can find more information about drowsy driving here. If you get into a situation in which your vehicle is off the roadway or leaving the roadway, the UHP says the first thing is to not panic. Remove your foot from the gas, and steer smoothly back onto the road. If you need to brake, press evenly on the brakes (do not stomp on the brakes.)
If you do leave the paved surface of the road, you might be hitting things like sage brush, rocks, maybe even a mile marker post or sign. The damage these may cause to your vehicle will be minimal compared with the damage that will be caused if your vehicle rolls or enters oncoming traffic. Road signs are actually required to be breakaway or yielding in case a vehicle hits them.
Understanding the root cause of overcorrecting and roll over crashes can help drivers avoid them in the first place. Knowing what to do if they get into a situation where they're leaving or have left the road can save a driver's life.
For more information on crash data, contact Gary Mower 801-707-1731 or email@example.com
* Contributing factors are actions or conditions that may have played a significatnt role in a crash.
August 5, 2013
Motorcycle Fatalities in Utah
Charts show detailed information about style of motorcycle, location of crash and demographics for motorcycle fatalities in Utah.
In 2007, the Highway Safety Office began compiling information about motorcycle fatalities and adding visual elements to the data.
The chart below shows 2012 information as well as aggregate information for 2007-2012 (and in some cases longer.)
To download a pdf of the chart, click here or on any of the images below.
Charts for motorcycle fatalities in Utah from previous years:
July 22, 2013
Suspected DUI Motorcycle Crash Serves as a Reminder of the Dangers of Drinking and Riding
Alcohol, more than any other single factor, can rob a motorcyclist of his or her ability to think clearly and ride safely.
The Utah County Sheriff's Office reported that a motorcycle crash over the weekend is suspected to involve drugs or alcohol.
In Utah in 2011, 5.5% of motorcycle drivers in crashes were suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In comparison, 2.4% of drivers not on motorcycles in a crash were suspected of DUI.
Riding under the influence was a factor in 15% (4 of 27) of fatal motorcycle crashes in Utah in 2011. Nationally, nearly a third of all fatally injured motorcycle riders had blood alcohol contents (BAC) of .08 or greater (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)
A lot of places that riders gather or events they attend provide alcohol. But, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, having any alcohol in one's body increases the risk of crashing by five times.
Drinking & Riding Don't Mix
Riding a motorcycle requires balance, coordination, and most importantly, good judgement and awareness. Riders are more vulnerable to begin with - they don't have air bags, crumple zones, steel frames. All they have is their personal protective equipment and their riding skills. And if alcohol enters the equation, their riding skills can be negatively affected.
The safest, smartest choice is to never mix drinking and riding: ride sober. If riders are planning on drinking, they should leave their motorcycles at home and plan for a safe, alternate way to get home safely.
Motorcycle riding involves a degree of risk - but drinking and riding is a risk riders don't have to take.
For more information, please contact
For Data: For Program Information:[Last Update - Wednesday, 27-Nov-2013 08:08:42 MST]