Report details wrecks in ’08 | ParkRecord.com

Report details wrecks in ’08

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

The most common causes of fatal traffic crashes on Utah roads are drowsy, distracted, aggressive and impaired driving, and not wearing a seat belt, according to crash statistics the Utah Department of Transportation released this week.

"While more people are alive because they buckled up, we only saw a 10 percent reduction in fatalities attributed to improper seat belt use," UDOT Executive Director John Nord said in a prepared statement. "In fact, if you added up all the fatalities attributed to those who drove drowsy, distracted, aggressive or impaired, they still wouldn’t add up to the 110 people who died without a seat belt last year."

About 10 people died in Summit County in 2008 because they were not properly restrained, according to statistics at zerofatalities.com.

"It’s very hard to pinpoint why people are not buckling up," UDOT spokesman Adan Carrillo said in a telephone interview. "You really don’t know what’s motivating people to not buckle up. But that is the one safety device that will increase the chances of saving your life by 50 percent

."

U.S. 40 and Interstate 80 are among Utah’s deadliest roads, the report states. In 2008, about 23 people were killed on I-80. Roughly 11 people died last year on U.S. 40.

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But the deadliest road was Interstate 15, which had 37 deaths in 2008.

According to Utah Highway Patrol troopers, among the excuses drivers made for not wearing seat belts in December were: "I was in a hurry; I forgot and I didn’t have to go very far."

"Everyone has an excuse for not wearing a seat belt. The only problem is, that excuse won’t do you much good in the case of a crash," Utah Department of Public Safety Col. Lance Davenport said in a prepared statement.

Of roughly 270 people who died in fatal crashes last year, about 228 of the deaths occurred on dry roads. About 137 people were killed in the day time and 49 percent of the crashes happened in rural areas.

Among those killed were 181 men. Nearly half of the deaths were people between the ages of 45 and 20.