The Desert News is reporting the for the first time in 15 years, the number of traffic fatalities in Utah has risen for the third year in a row. Last year, 275 people died on Utah roads. Officials say as many as 94 % of those deaths were preventable. We all share the same roadway, and we need to find a way to do it safely protecting not just those in vehicles, but pedestrians and bicyclists.
The multiagency Zero Fatalities initiative is launching a campaign called “Heads Up” to educate people on how to be safer. For motorists, that involves teaching them how a pedestrian might act or move in a near-accident situation. For new drivers, that means representatives from UDOT will be going to local high schools to give presentations on safe driving. After hitting a 50-year record low in 2012, when 217 people died, the fatalities in Utah have been creeping back up over the past two years.
A representative from UDOT stated that the rise in fatalities was very disturbing. This in light of the fact that Utah roads are safer than ever through construction and design. Cars are even safer than they have ever been, but people continue to multitask while operating their vehicles. Most wrecks last year took place in typical conditions, that is on dry roads and on clear days. The most dangerous roads were not the highways, but the smaller roads with intersections and driveways where people are not making good choices or decisions. Year after year, the most common cause of fatalities are due to motorists not wearing their seat belts. Last year, 86people died because they were unrestrained. 75 died due to driving drunk or high and 64 died due to aggressive driving, typically because they were going too fast.
As a society we are always talking about safety while driving. It’s on billboards, it’s on TV, it was on a Super Bowl commercial last year. Buckle up. Why don’t people wear a seat belt? Officials said they need more time to see if a seat belt law enacted in May will have an effect on drivers. The bill, passed by the Legislature last year, allows troopers to pull people over for not wearing a seat belt. Before, troopers could only cite people for not wearing a seat belt if they had already been pulled over for another violation, such as speeding.
The use of cellphones and other mobile devices will provide a new challenge. Last year, 27 people died due to distracted driving, such as texting or doing their makeup. Officials said that number is expected to rise. Because of all these new distractions, if we were a good driver 10 years ago, you have to be an even better driver now.
William Rawlings & Associates is the Firm families look to when tragedy has struck their family. We have handled many cases where our clients have lost a loved one in a car or truck accident or killed as a pedestrian that could have been prevented. William Rawlings & Associates has over 35 years of experience and knowledge of specific laws regarding wrongful death claims. Clients have commented on appreciating our compassionate approach when dealing with these tragic situations. If you are a family are in need of our services, please don’t hesitate to call.