Which Crashes Are Most Common?
Since 2010, Utah has averaged 59,422 motor vehicle accidents annually, although the rate of collisions has increased over time. And while data is still being finalized from 2021, this past year has seen a 12-year high in the number of fatal crashes.
Despite overall rates steadily increasing over time, the most common factors associated with crashes have remained consistent. To better understand what is causing this increased danger on Utah roads, it’s important to know what these factors are and how they can be deadly for drivers.
One fairly consistent trend is that the attribute involved in the highest percentage of crashes frequently relates to driver age. Both teens and older drivers (defined as age 64+) make up a significant proportion of those involved in crashes.
- Older drivers were involved in 13.1% of crashes but made up 24.6% of fatalities.
- Teen drivers were involved in 21% of crashes but made up 10.9% of fatalities.
Since 2010, drivers aged 13-20 are the age demographic involved in the highest number of crashes annually, followed by an alternating 21-24 and 25-29.
100 Deadliest Days of Summer
One of the other most frequently occurring crash attributes involves the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” If you aren’t familiar, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been given this title due to the yearly influx of teen roadway fatalities. On average, 23% of crashes in Utah are related to these 100 days.
Shockingly though, the time of day with the highest number of crashes related to this attribute is 5 pm. In contrast, nationwide statistics show that teen crashes are more likely to occur between 9 pm and midnight.
Speed is often a factor in most crashes across the country, but it only contributes to approximately 13% on average in Utah. The rates of speed-related crashes, however, have fluctuated quite a bit since 2010. In fact, 2021 is showing one of the lowest rates of speeding in recent years, despite having higher overall crash rates.
There are many reasons why this may be the case. While many may assume the weather and terrain throughout the state may encourage drivers to slow down, the speed limits may play the biggest role. Some interstates have speed limits as high as 80 mph, which is higher than others found in the majority of the country. This may make it more difficult to discern if a driver was over the posted speed limit at the time of the crash.
One of the factors that is becoming much more talked about lately is the influence that holidays can have on roadway safety. From increased traffic congestion to higher rates of driving under the influence, we often see national crash rates sharply increase within 72 hours of a holiday.
Utah is no different. The state has averaged approximately 8,000 holiday-related crashes since 2010, and often these can be attributed to driving under the influence. While the state averages 3% alcohol-involved crashes on all other days, most of the holidays surpass this. New Year’s Day, for example, often records the highest percentage, more than doubling the standard rate.
Considering the percentage of crashes that involve teen drivers in Utah, it is unsurprising that distractions are frequently listed in the top five attributes contributing to motor vehicle accidents. Conversing with passengers, listening to music, eating and drinking, or texting and driving can pose a significant risk to drivers (especially teens).
Utah passed a ban on using handheld electronic devices while driving in 2007; however, the law was a point of contention as it required another traffic violation to be committed in order to be enforceable. Even with this law, and others in recent years that have attempted to strengthen it, distraction-related crashes have been fairly consistent since 2010 with a total often fluctuating between 4,200 and 5,800.
Salt Lake City Car Accident Attorneys
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