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Unified Police, UDOT raise awareness about distracted driving

UDOT's neon car is aimed at helping raise awareness about distracted driving.

KEARNS, Utah — Unified Police officers conducted sting operations while the Utah Department of Transportation unveiled a neon car, all to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and walking.

Utah averages about 40 pedestrian deaths a year. 10 pedestrians and three bicyclists have died here so far in 2019.

distracted driving UHP

Unified Police set up a sting operation at this crosswalk near the Kearns/West Valley City border to raise awareness about distracted driving.

At a sting in Kearns Monday afternoon, Officer Zack Young said they cited or warned more than 30 drivers. A big problem, he says, is cell phones.

“It’s easy to detach yourself from what’s going on outside the road. We have our windows up, we have our music playing, [and] our podcasts going. It’s easy to forget you’re driving a 2,000-pound bullet,” Young said.

Unified Police chose to conduct the operations on Monday to remind people that National Walking Day is April 3rd, where many more people are expected to be out and about. They even asked residents over Facebook which intersections they should target.

UDOT revealed their new neon car, which also has lights, flags, and sirens, at an event in Murray. Spokesman John Gleason said they want to remind people, whether drivers or pedestrians, to make themselves more visible because that helps reduce fatal accidents.

Gleason thinks cell phones are only part of the problem.

“If you’re talking to someone that’s riding with you or walking next to you, it’s those type of things that take your focus off of the road,” said Gleason.

The car is also part of UDOT’s Road to Zero Fatalities campaign.