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2020 Road to Zero Fatalities campaign asks people to ‘Be Better Drivers’

Screen grab from UDOT's 2020 Zero Fatalities YouTube video.

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — The Road to Zero Fatalities kicks off its 2020 campaign this weekend with a call to “Be Better Drivers,” organizers announced Wednesday.

The hundred deadliest days

Utah’s deadliest 100 days of the year on the highways traditionally begin Memorial Day and end on Labor Day. Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) spokesman John Gleason says during those days in 2019, the state saw a 40% decrease in deadly crashes from the same time period in 2018.

But Lt. Nick Street of Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) says we are on a bad trajectory for 2020. 

“Even though there were 50% fewer cars on the roads the last two months, we’ve seen more DUIs and fatalities than last year,” Street said.

It’s one reason why UHP and UDOT are combining forces again this year for Utah’s Road to Zero Fatalities Campaign

This year’s slogan: Be Better Drivers

“Pick one thing you can do to be better behind the wheel,” Gleason advised drivers. 

That includes buckling up every single time you’re in the car, never looking at your cell phone, or reducing your speed.  

Street echos that sentiment.

“We need to get back to basics of safe driving,” he added. 

To that end, Street says UHP officers will be out in force this weekend handing out citations for speeding and not wearing seat belts.

Street also says troopers arrested 41 people over two days last weekend, all accused of driving under the influence. 

“With less traffic on the roads,” Street said, “it’s easier to spot people who are weaving in and out of traffic.” 

The same weekend in 2019 only yielded 19 DUI arrests, said Street.

zero fatalities be better drivers

File photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

For Memorial Day weekend, Street said “there will be over 190 impaired driving shifts, worked by over 30 agencies statewide.”

Gleason said they don’t have the statistics on why fewer people died last year than this year.  But Street said speed, not wearing seat belts and driving distracted and/or under the influence were all major factors in the fatal crashes we’ve had this year.

“We all need to do better as individual drivers,” Gleason said.  “It’s up to each and everyone of us to do our part and be the best drivers we can be.”