OGDEN — Deaths on Utah roads continue to trend downward, a new report shows.
The Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Highway Patrol released yearly traffic fatality statistics this week that show 215 people died on Utah’s roads during 2012, a 42 percent drop since 2000. In 2011, the state had 243 fatalities.
The number of fatalities in Utah hasn’t been this low since 1974, said UDOT Executive Director John Njord.
Weber County had 12 fatalities in 2012, down from 20 in 2011; Davis County had 15, compared to 13 the year before; Box Elder County had 4, down from 9 the previous year; and Morgan County had one fatality, down from two in 2011.
The drop in fatalities since 2000 can be attributed to several factors, including more public transportation options, improved driver safety courses, new and improved safety measures on state roads and several statewide public awareness campaigns, said Darin Fristrup, a traffic operations engineer for UDOT’s Region One.
Engineering on roads also plays a part in the reduction, he said.
Rumble strips, cable barriers to prevent crossover crashes, and high-visibility road signs and striping all make Utah roads safer, Fristrup said.
“We’re actively trying to find trouble spots and then go in there and see what we can do to make them safer.”
Factors that contribute to the majority of fatal accidents in the state are drowsy driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, impaired driving and not wearing a seat belt, UDOT officials say.
Of the 215 fatalities in 2012, 192 were on dry roads, with 173 occurring during clear weather conditions.
Males were involved in more fatal accidents than females, accounting for 131 deaths.
Interstate 15 had 32 fatalities, far more than any other Utah road. U.S. 89 was second, with 13 fatalities.