Highway Safety - Hot Topic
July 2, 2014
June Was a Deadly Month on Utah's Roadways
Thirty-six people were killed in traffic-related crashes in June - the worst in almost 9 years.
(Utah) The summer months are frequently referred to as the "100 deadliest days of summer" within the traffic safety community. Utah's first summer month - June - lived up to that deadly reputation: 36 people lost their lives on Utah's roadways during the month.
This number is still preliminary and is subject to change slightly, as some reports are still pending. As the traffic records data team at the Utah Department of Public Safety's Highway Safety Office tallied initial reports for June, they noted that June 2014 had the highest monthly total of traffic-related deaths in Utah since August 2005.
As we head into the 4th of July weekend, we encourage everyone to keep safe driving on their minds:
- Buckle up, every trip, every time, everyone.
- Designate a sober driver, call a cab or sober friend.
- Put aside distractions, such as phones, and focus on the road.
- Follow the speed limit and adapt for conditions.
- If you feel sleepy, find a safe place to take a break.
- Share the road with motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
- Motorcycle riders - wear all the gear, all the time and ride to live.
Click here for a jpg of the graphic above.
June 24, 2014
Whether Your Summer Road Trip is Short- or Long-Haul, Make Sure The Kids Are in The Right Seats
(Salt Lake City, Utah) Keeping our kids safe in cars is important year round. But as summer gets into full swing and many families hit the road for vacation, it’s a great time to make sure Utah kids are in the right car seat. Choosing the seat and making sure it’s installed correctly are critical, but many parents find the criteria for proper seats and when to move their children to the next step confusing. Child passenger safety technicians will help eliminate the confusion by discussing the “Four Steps for Kids,” demonstrating correct installation and directing parents to the many resources available in Utah to help them make sure their kids are traveling safely.
WHEN: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 media availability from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: UHP Section 4 Office
5681 South 320 West
WHAT: Child Passenger Safety Technicians will discuss and demonstrate how to choose and install the right car seat for your kids.
WHO: Janet Brooks, Child Advocacy Manager, Primary Children’s Medical Center
Sgt. Jacob Cox, Utah Highway Patrol, CPS Technician
Amy Winkler, Utah Highway Safety Office, CPS Technician
WHY: Making sure children are riding in the correct car seat is critical and can save their lives. There are resources throughout Utah to help make sure kids are in the right seats.
STORY OP: Children who are at different stages of the “Four Steps for Kids” will be present to help demonstrate proper fit
For more info contact Sgt. Todd Royce at 801-554-5659
There are car seat installation stations throughout Utah, where parents can have certified technicians check their seats for correct installation and fit for free – the list of stations is available at clickitutah.org where parents can also find detailed information about child passenger safety seats. The Utah Department of Public Safety’s occupant protection program and ClickItUtah.org website is supported in partnership with the Utah Department of Transportation and Zero Fatalities Program.
For a list of car seat inspection stations in Utah, click here or on the picture below.
For a Car Seat Fact Sheet, click here or on the picture below.
June 3, 2014
Free Teen Driver Training Program Coming to Utah June 20th and 21st
Ford Driving Skills for Life Program addresses inexperience factor that can lead to crashes
(Woods Cross, Utah) Teen drivers represented 9% of licensed drivers in Utah in 2012 but were in 20% of all motor vehicle crashes. Inexperience is one factor that contributes to this over representation of teens in crashes, and its one that the Ford Driving Skills for Life program looks to address. The free teen driver training program will be coming to Utah on June 20th and 21st and presents a great opportunity for teens to get behind the wheel instruction.
The course provides teen drivers with instruction in four key skill areas including hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed management, space management and distracted and impaired driving. The course is free and open to the public.
For more information or to register visit https://www.drivingskillsforlife.com/events-cat/events
An event flyer is available here.
Details about the Salt Lake area event are as follows:
1650 West 500 South
Woods Cross, Ut 8484
Friday, June 20th & Saturday, June 21st
There are 2 sessions each day - teens enroll in one session
Session 1: 7:30 am to 12:30 pm
Session 2: 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Click here for a jpg of the flyer.
May 29, 2014
Motorcycle Riders Swarm Media Stations to Prevent Future Fallen Riders
Members of law enforcement motor squads and local motorcyclists are partnering to deliver the latest practices in motorcycle safety to local news outlets - just in time for summer riding across Utah.
(Salt Lake City, Utah) On Thursday, May 29, The Utah Highway Safety Office, members of law enforcement motor squads and local motorcyclists will rally in local news outlet parking lots across the Wasatch Front to share the latest tools aimed at reducing Utah motorcycle fatalities. This safety media campaign aims to increase awareness for riders and motorists alike.
Over the past three years traffic fatalities have decreased 10%, but motorcycle fatalities have increased 10%. This is due, in part, to motorists not checking for motorcycles while turning or changing lanes. Motorcyclists are also encouraged to be proactive in their defensive driving. The media campaign features billboards that read, “Ride like there is no tomorrow, and there won’t be,” and radio spots that remind riders to “take responsibility for your ride as well as your life.” All media messages point to RideToLiveUtah.org, where both new and experienced riders can find out about the gear, skills and strategies they need to get home safely. “Riders love to be on their motorcycles – you hear a lot of them talk about how they ‘live to ride,’” stated Colonel Daniel Fuhr, of the Utah Highway Patrol. “We also want them to ride to live – to make sure that every time they get on their motorcycles, they have the right gear, skills and mental strategies to get home safely. The media campaign will remind riders and drivers to be safe, but the website and our new map will show them how.”
The campaign features a specially designed map, made by riders for riders, rating roads throughout Utah according to their difficulty for motorcycle riders. Copies of the map will be distributed at motorcycle dealerships and visitor centers throughout Utah, and it will also be accessible digitally on RideToLiveUtah.org. “Utah has some of the most scenic and iconic motorcycle riding routes in the country,” said Colonel Fuhr. “A lot of them have technical features that require advanced riding skills. We hope this map will help riders ride within their skill level and possibly even encourage them to seek additional skills training so they can safely navigate the most technical routes.”
In 2013, there were 31 motorcycle fatalities in Utah, 42% of which occurred in the summer months. The Utah Highway Safety Office’s Motorcycle Safety program is a statewide media and community outreach campaign. It is designed to reduce motorcycle injuries and fatalities by promoting rider safety and educating motorists of the importance of sharing the road. For more information about Utah’s Motorcycle Safety media campaign, visit RideToLiveUtah.org.
Click here for a copy of the news release.
May 19, 2104
More Than 1,700 Lives Have Been Saved By Seat Belts Since 2000
15th Year of the Click It or Ticket Seat Belt Enforcement Campaign Compares the Past and the Present but Focuses on the Future
(Salt Lake City, Utah) The Utah Department of Public Safety and law enforcement agencies throughout the State kicked off the 15th annual “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement mobilization with a nod to the past but an eye on motorists’ futures. Although much has changed since 2000, the Click It or Ticket program has always focused on one thing: saving lives by getting more drivers to buckle up.
And it’s been successful – while only 67.4% of Utahns were buckling up in 2000, the seat belt usage rate is now 82.4%. Law enforcement and the campaign are now focusing on the remaining Utahns who still don’t buckle up by emphasizing the fact that seat belts save lives.
Last year 221 people died in fatal collisions on Utah roads and highways, and almost one third (61) of them were not restrained.
“We are determined to help bring these numbers down,” said Utah Highway Patrol Superintendent Daniel Fuhr. “There are too many people dying on the roads, and many of those deaths could have been prevented if people took the simple step of wearing their seat belt. No matter what type of vehicle you drive or where you drive, wear your seat belt, every trip, every time.”
For people who haven’t yet gotten the message to “click it,” there may be a ticket in their near future. Between May 19th and June 1st, including the Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement agencies throughout Utah will be working extra seat belt focused patrols to ticket motorists who are not buckled up.
Since Click It or Ticket started in Utah in 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 1,738 lives have been saved by seat belts in Utah alone. A large display was created to bring attention to this number – with all of the digits wrapped in seat belt material. The Utah Department of Public Safety plans to utilize the display throughout the State to remind drivers of the life-saving capabilities of seat belts.
Buckling up is one of the most effective things people can do to protect themselves in a crash. Seat belts reduce the risk of injury and death by about 70% when used correctly, according to NHTSA.
The 2013 Utah Seat Belt Observational Survey, conducted by the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office, reported that 82.4% of the state’s motorists buckle up. However, seat belt use among rural motorists and pickup truck occupants continues to lag. Only 70.0% of drivers and front seat passengers in rural counties buckle up compared to 85.6% in urban areas. In addition, 71.3% of pickup drivers and front seat passengers use seat belts, compared to 86% of occupants of other types of vehicles. Light trucks account for almost one in four registered vehicles in Utah and are more than twice as likely to roll in a crash. The Utah Department of Public Safety’s Click It or Ticket Campaign is conducted in partnership with the Utah Department of Transportation and Zero Fatalities Program. Visit http://clickitutah.org. for more information on Utah’s seat belt laws and media materials.
For a PDF of the news release, click here.
March 12, 2014
Safety and Training Urged After Motorcycle Rider Deaths Show Only a Slight Decrease in 2013
Fatalities decrease from 32 in 2012 to 31 in 2013 - both riders and drivers can do more to increase motorcyclist safety
Salt Lake City, Utah – Utah motorcyclists lost 31 fellow riders in 2013, according to preliminary data from the Utah Department of Public Safety. The number of rider deaths decreased by 1 from 2012, when 32 riders lost their lives.
Speed, operator error and motorist failure to yield continue to be common contributing factors. Motorcyclist speed was a factor in 15 of the fatal crashes.
Thirty crashes resulted in the 31 rider deaths, of which 16 only involved the motorcycle. Three crashes involved two motorcycles hitting each other, one crash involved a motorcycle and a deer and 11 crashes involved another vehicle, six of which involved the vehicle failing to yield or improperly turning.
The average age of motorcyclists killed in 2013 was 46.5 - the youngest rider killed was 19; the oldest rider killed was 85.
Only 12 (39%) of the riders killed in 2013 were wearing helmets. This is lower than the statewide observed helmet use rate of 65.9%.
What Riders Can Do
With rider error a leading factor in motorcyclist crashes, the Utah Department of Public Safety recommends riders sign up for a motorcycle rider skills training class, which can help riders establish or improve their skills. At these classes, riders can learn the physical skills and mental strategies to help them detect, avoid and manage hazards. Courses are available through the Utah Motorcycle Rider Education program and course schedules and providers can be found at utahmotorcyclesafety.com . These courses are not just for new or returning riders - experienced riders can also benefit from additional training to hone their crash-avoidance skills, including counter-steering and emergency braking.
The only thing protecting riders in the event of a crash is their skills and their gear. Riders typically separate from the motorcycle at some point during a crash. Anything - the road, a tree, road signs - can injure cyclists. The only way to reduce this risk is to wear all personal protective gear, most importantly, a DOT-approved helmet. Although wearing a helment cannot prevent a crash, it can save a rider's life. Helmet use is proven to save lives and reduce injuries. Find more information here.
What Drivers Can Do
Motorcycle riding is mainly seasonal in Utah, meaning drivers get used to not seeing motorcycles for several months during the winter. As the weather gets milder and warmer, drivers need to know that motorcycles will be out on the roads again. Drivers need to be aware of motorcycles and be consciously looking for them - they are smaller than vehicles and therefore harder to see. For more tips on safe driving around motorcycles, click here.
Riding season in Utah has started early because of our mild late winter conditions - look for and see motorcycles.
Click on the images below for pdf versions of the chart
Charts for motorcycle fatalities in Utah from previous years:
Motorcycles are only 3.5% of registered vehicles in Utah in 2013(not inlcuding trailers).
But motorcyclists accounted for 14.2% (31 of 219) of traffic fatalities in Utah in 2013.
May 13, 2014
NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR USE OF CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING GO INTO EFFECT TODAY
Details about the new restrictions for using phones and devices while driving are outlined below. Click here for a pdf showing this information.
Effective May 13, 2014
Amendments to Section 41-6a-1716
Handheld Wireless Communication Device:
- Wireless telephone
- Text messaging device
- Any other similar device that is readily removable from the vehicle and is used to write, send, read text, or data through manual input (e.g., netbook, tablet, etc.)
Prohibited Activities While Operating a Moving Vehicle on a Highway:
- Write, read or send a written message (email, texting, instant messaging)
- Dial a phone number
- Access the internet
- View or record a video
- Enter data into the device
Operating means driving or in actual physical control of vehicle
Highway means entire width of street or road that is open to the public for vehicle traffic
Prohibitions apply when vehicle is moving
Prohibitions apply when activity is done manually (e.g., using fingers)
- Using handheld communication device for voice communication
- To view a GPS device or navigation app
- During a medical emergency
- Reporting a safety hazard or requesting assistance relating to safety hazard
- Reporting criminal activity or requesting assistance relating to criminal activity
- Use by law enforcement or emergency service personnel within the scope of their employment
- Using a hands-free or voice operated technology or a system integrated into the vehicle
- Class C Misdemeanor and $100 fine
- Class B Misdemeanor if violation of the section causes serious bodily injury to another or pervious violation (or conviction of the violation) within past three years
February 22, 2014
UHP TEACHES TEENS WINTER DRIVING SKILLS ON SNOW AND ICE
Troopers use snowmaking equipment to add a new dimension to teen driving program
Lehi, Utah – With a grant from the Ford Motor Company, the Utah Highway Patrol has been making snow on the Emergency Vehicle Operations course in order to teach teens how to be better drivers in wintry conditions.
The UHP’s goal for the program is to give teens experience in winter driving conditions in a controlled environment. “For the great majority of teens, the first time they experience driving on snow and ice is when they’re out there on public roads with the rest of us,” said UHP Sgt. Greg Holley, who created the program. “By encouraging them to experience vehicle dynamics on snow and ice on a closed course, we hope to teach them how to react appropriately in a snowy or icy situation without panicking.”
To ensure they had enough snow at the EVO course, troopers used a Polecat snow gun, normally used at ski resorts, to make snow. Many dry days in January and above normal temperatures in February have presented challenges, but the troopers were able to cover the course with thick layers of snow and ice. They then groomed it and created a course designed to incorporate a little bit of everything that teens might experience on the road. The course includes serpentine and slalom sections where teens practice steering, braking and accelerating on snow and ice, so they can learn how a car will act and react in a variety of situations.
“Our main emphasis is for the teens to avoid crashing in the first place,” Sgt. Holley said. “But on the snowy and icy course, we get them to think about what they’ll do if they lose control, so they’ll be prepared to anticipate what the car will do and react if they can’t avoid a situation.”
The course on Saturday, February 22, 2014, is the last of four classes the UHP will hold this winter. Teens from around the state have attended the classes, and Sgt. Holley reports their feedback about the course has been positive. “They’re telling us they they’ve learned to not overcorrect and are saying they’ve loved the experience of driving on the snow, “ Sgt. Holley said. “They’re also telling us they’re going to share the information they’ve learned with their family and friends, which is great.”
Sgt. Holley started the Teen Driving Challenge in 2009 after learning about a similar program in Kentucky. Since then, more than 400 teens have attended the course and many have later contacted the officers to let them know they’ve used the skills they learned to avoid a crash. A grant from the Ford Motor Company’s Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) program and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) provided the funding for the snowmaking equipment so the UHP could add the winter driving component to the classes.
For more information about the classes, contact Sgt. Greg Holley at email@example.com or 801-440-7829
Click here for a PDF of news release
Photo Credit: G. Holley The Utah Highway Patrol used a Super Polecat snow gun to make snow for the UHP's Teen Driving Challenge. A grant provided funding for the snow making equipment.
Photo Credit: Utah DPS The team of Utah Highway Patrol instructors who made snow and conducted classes stand in front of the snow course and snow maker.
Photo credit: G. Holley Troopers groom snow they made for the course at the Utah Highway Patrol's Teen Driving Challenge
Photo credit: Utah DPS Teen drivers learn about the challenges of winter driving conditions on the Utah Highway Patrol's snow covered course.
Photo credit: Utah DPS A wide angle view of the snow covered course the Utah Highway Patrol created to provide winter driving training for teen drivers.
Photo credit: Utah DPS Teen drivers navigate the snow covered course created by the Utah Highway Patrol.
Photo credit: Utah DPS The Utah Highway Patrol created a snow covered course to give teen drivers experience in winter driving conditions in a controlled environment.
Photo credit: Utah DPS Teen drivers on the slalom portion of the winter driving course at the Utah Highway Patrol's Teen Driving Challenge.
VIDEO AND B ROLL
Footage of Teen Drivers Hitting Cones
Footage of Snow making
To preview video, click here or on pic
To download video, click here
To preview video, click here or on pic
To download video, click here
Footage of Teen Drivers on Course
To preview video, click here or on pic
To download video, click here
For more information about pictures and video, please contact Helen Knipe 801-520-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org
February 11, 2014
UTAH FLORISTS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT PARTNER TO SHARE AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR LOVED ONE
PROVE YOUR LOVE BY BUCKLING UP
Statewide safety advocates, local law enforcement and dozens of Utah florists use custom messages to remind Utahns that the best way to show your love for Valentine’s Day is to buckle up.
Salt Lake City, February 11, 2014 – The Utah Department of Public Safety, law enforcement and over 50 florists across the Wasatch Front have teamed up to bring an important Valentine’s message to all of Utah. Starting February 12th, patrons visiting flower stores during the Valentine’s holiday (February 12-14) may receive a special message about seatbelts hanging from their bouquet of flowers, courtesy of law enforcement and safety advocates.
Specially designed lenticular flower tags will share two messages with Utahns, "Loves me, Loves me not” depicting either a fastened or unfastened seatbelt. The messages provide further details about the need for Utahns to buckle up and Prove Their Love to their friends, family and Valentines. “Valentine’s Day is a wonderful day to tell your friends and family you love them. One of the best ways you can truly demonstrate your love for them is by buckling your seatbelt,” stated Thomas Gordon of Flower Patch. “As Utah florists, we are proud to support such an important message to protect the lives of the people we love.”
According to focus group studies, seatbelt non-users will buckle up if a loved one asks them to do so. In 2012, there were 217 fatalities on Utah roads, and 79 of those fatalities were attributed to not wearing a seat belt. “Our loved ones want us to be safe at all times. They urge us to make smart and safe decisions. One of those decisions presents itself every time we step into vehicle” said Colonel Danny Fuhr of the Utah Highway Patrol. “By buckling our seatbelts, we can ensure our own safety and the safety of those we love.”
Visit highwaysafety.utah.gov for more information about the Valentine’s Day campaign and ongoing community-based seatbelt safety efforts.
During the Valentine’s Day holiday, over four-dozen Florists will be distributing the subtle Valentine’s Day reminders to buckle up. Below is a list of the florists in Utah that will be participating:
# # #
For a pdf of the news release, click here.
For campaign talking points, click here.
For campaign FAQ, click here.
2013 Seat belt observational survey results - click here
2012 occupant protection crash data fact sheet - click here
(also available on our Pinterest page)
February 1, 2014
DUI CRASHES TWICE AS HIGH ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY IN UTAH
Department of Public Safety research shows that refs aren't the only ones making bad calls on the day of the Big Game.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - The Super Bowl is a time for food, fun and festivities. But research from the Utah Department of Public Safety shows that while referees might be making bad calls on the field, a lot of Utahns are making bad calls when it comes to impaired driving.
Over the last 5 years, there have been an average of 10.4 alcohol impaired driver crashes on Super Bowl Sunday. This is over twice as high as the average day in February, which had 4.7 alcohol crashes per day.
Below is the number of alcohol impaired driver crashes in Utah on the last 5 Super Bowl Sundays:
2012 - 8
2011 - 8
2010 - 10
2009 - 9
With a little bit of planning, Utahns celebrating the Super Bowl can make the right call and avoid getting a penalty (in the form of a DUI).
Safe Super Bowl Sunday Tips
If you're attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant:
- Designate your sober driver BEFORE the party begins.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself. Eat plenty of food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
- Keep track of how much you have had to drink.
- Make sure your ride is sober before letting him/her drive you.
- If you don't have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend or family member to come and get you; or if possible stay where you are for the night and don't drive until you are sober.
- Never let a friend drive drunk. Arrange a safe way for them to get home.
- Always buckle up. It's still your best defense against drunk drivers.
If you're hosting a Super Bowl party:
- Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
- Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
- If you plan to stay sober, offer to drive guests home.
- Encourage guests to pace themselves.
- Host your party like they do at the stadium. Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game. The fourth quarter is perfect for serving coffee and dessert.
- Keep the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.
To download the graphic click here.
December 18, 2013
NEW EIGHT-FOOT TALL POLICE OFFICERS JOIN DUI ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS
Eight-foot tall holiday nutcracker statuettes dressed as police officers remind Utahns to drive sober this holiday season, because law enforcement is cracking down on drunk drivers.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - A series of eight-foot tall police "nutcracker" statuettes will greet liquor store customers during the holiday season with an important message about drunk driving: "Officers are cracking down on drunk driving. Drive sober or get pulled over." On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, at 11 a.m., the larger-than-life officers will be on display at the Bountiful State Liquor Store located at 520 North 500 West.
With the state liquor store as a backdrop, dozens of law enforcement officers will stand alongside officials from the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to introduce the oversized officers and to remind shoppers to have a safe and happy holiday season, free from drunk driving.
Bountiful Police Chief Tom Ross, Utah Highway Safety Office Director Dave Beach and Utah Second District Court Judge Thomas L. Kay will caution Utahns about the dangers of impaired driving and speak about their strong commitment to keep roads free of drunk drivers during the holiday season. "We are asking all Utahns to help keep our roads safe this holiday season. Don't drink and drive. Help those who have been drinking get home safely, and call 911 if you see someone driving impaired. Together, we can celebrate a safe and DUI-free holiday," shares Sgt. Ted Tingey of the Utah Highway Patrol.
The Bountiful State Liquor store is located at 520 North and 500 West. The press even will be held at the front entrance to the store. Media interviews will be available at 11L25 a.m. on the 18th. The DABC is permitting the media to film inside the liquor store.
The display will remain in place at the Bountiful Liquor Store until December 23rd. The entire display will move to several other state liquor stores following the schedule below:
- December 23rd thru 26th: 1255 W. North Temple, SLC, UT 84116
- December 26th thru 30th: 1814 E. Murray-Holladay Road, Holladay UT 84117
- December 30th thru January 2nd: 14445 South Minuteman Dr., Draper UT 84020
In 2012 Utah had 217 highway fatalities, of which 20 were 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.
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 - Monday, 07-Jul-2014 12:35:33 MDT]