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Utah Went 10 Days With Zero Road Fatalities, UDOT Reports

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Utah hasn’t gone more than seven days without road fatalities since Jan. 2016. That is until this last week when The Utah Department of Transportation reported Utah went 10 consecutive days with zero road fatalities.

“This is something that we can do,” said John Gleason, the public information officer for UDOT. “We just had 10 days without anyone dying on our roads. And if we can do 10 days, why can’t we do another 10 days? Why can’t we get through the end of the year through the holidays without a fatality? Too many people are dying on our roads and one is too many.”

The 10 days ended Monday night, with two fatalities on Utah roads — a semi-truck driver in Bountiful crashed into a pole on I-15 and a 11-year-old boy was killed while crossing the street in Pleasant Grove.

“That’s just incredibly tragic to think about a family that’s not going to be celebrating Christmas with their son, a brother. It’s just unthinkable this time of year.”

Around the holiday season there are even more distractions that can potentially affect drivers, Gleason said. Rushing home from work, last minute holiday shopping and traveling to celebrate with loved ones, just to name a few.

“The one important thing to remember is always focus on the road,” Gleason said. “If you take your attention off the road for even a second or two, the results can be catastrophic. It’s something we see far too many times and no one ever thinks it’s going to happen to them.”

While 88 percent of Utah drivers do wear seatbelts, the 12 percent that elect not to are the number one cause of road deaths in Utah.

“In 2018 we shouldn’t have to have this conversation anymore,” Gleason said. “But that’s still the number one cause of deaths on our roads — people not buckling up.”

Ten days with zero road deaths is an impressive accomplishment, Gleason said.

“To put things in perspective, Texas has had at least one person die on the roads every day since Nov. 7, 2000,” Gleason said. “So that’s a long stretch. And it does show that we’re doing some things we can all be proud of here, but there’s always more to do.”

Gleason said the UDOT has gone through educational efforts to encourage Utah drivers to buckle up — but efforts don’t end there.

“All of us know someone who doesn’t buckle up,” Gleason said. “Now it’s up to the rest of us to reach out to our mothers, our fathers, friends, who for whatever reason refuse to buckle up, and tell them that they need to do it.”