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UDOT reports sharp decrease in Utah road fatalities

Jason Davis with UDOT reports there were 41 fewer fatal car accidents this summer. (PHOTO: KSL Newsradio)

MURRAY, Utah — Are Utah roads getting safer? State transportation officials have statistics on road fatalities to back up that claim.

At a press conference Thursday, UDOT officials gathered to celebrate a summer that saw far fewer road fatalities.

“We had the greatest statistical decrease on our fatalities in this year that we’ve ever seen on record,” explained Deputy Director of Engineering and Operation with UDOT, Jason Davis. “We had a 40% decrease from last year.”

Specifically, 62 people died in crashes on Utah roadways this summer. For context, that’s 41 fewer deaths on Utah roads than this time last year.

The sample of time being dissected is from Memorial Day to Labor Day, more commonly known to transportation officials as the “100 Deadliest Days.”

“Statistically speaking, that is the most dangerous time on our roadways,” he said. “Historically, our numbers have averaged about one fatality a day during that time period.”

For those gathered, it was an encouraging sign to see such a high-risk time yield fewer road fatalities.

In fact, local authorities are reporting no road fatalities whatsoever over the Labor Day Weekend.

UDOT and Public Safety officials say that a number of different factors play into the sharp decrease.

“This year we challenged the Utah drivers to change their behavior,” explains Davis. “To really focus on each other, to look out for motorcyclists, look out for cyclists and pedestrians.”

And overall, Utah drivers accepted that challenge. Davis says fewer people are driving distracted or driving impaired. Additionally, motorists are getting better at wearing their seatbelt.

Still, Davis says, there’s always room for improvement. Statistics provided by UDOT indicate that 94% of all crashes are caused by human error.

KSL NewsRadio is teaming up with the Utah Department of Transportation to reduce highway deaths in the Beehive State through Zero Fatalities.