The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) are together looking to make a severe reduction in road fatalities in the state, a figure that crested at 273 deaths in 2017.
While that is a slight decrease from 2016 when 281 people died on Utah roads, UDOT and DPS are nonetheless taking an aggressive stance against a major culprit in this death toll: distracted driving.
The agencies’ Join the Resistance campaign encourages people to pledge to drive distraction free and receive rewards.
“In 2017, 273 people lost their lives on our roadways,” Carlos Braceras, UDOT’s executive director, told the Daily Herald. “Those are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters to all of us here in Utah. It’s a slight improvement over where we were last year. Last year, we had 281 people, so we’ve seen a decrease of eight lives lost. We are happy to see that trend going in that direction, but it’s just too many.”
Braceras added that there have already been six fatalities on Utah roads in 2018.
“We want to encourage all Utahns to join together with the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation to get zero fatalities,” Braceras said. “It’s a goal we can achieve, but we have to do it together.”
“The campaign aims at empowering and uniting Utahns to eliminate distractions behind the wheel,” John Gleason, UDOT spokesperson, said. “Distractions are an everyday part of life, but it’s important that we put those distractions away.”
“It’s easy when you get in your car to kind of feel anonymous. People don’t know who you are and you weave in and out of traffic, drive 15 or 20 miles or more faster than the traffic flow,” said Keith Squires, DPS commissioner. “For those individuals, please think about what you are doing and realize if you don’t get involved in a crash, you may be the one that set it up.”