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UDOT reports fewer deaths but more risky behavior on Utah roads in 2022

40 wreck death 1.JPEG
Utah Highway Patrol
Emergency responders surround a car that flipped in a crash on Highway 40.

The Utah Department of Transportation said fewer people died on Utah roads in 2022 - but they still want people to drive more safely this year.

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and Department of Public Safety (DPS) said 320 lives were lost in 2022. That's 12 fewer than in 2021.

“One startling takeaway from this last year is how many of our most vulnerable road users' lives were lost,” said John Gleason, UDOT public relations director. “Everyone shares the road, whether they’re driving, walking or riding a bike or motorcycle and all road users have an equal responsibility to watch out for one another.”

In 2022, 53 pedestrians, 15 bicyclists and 50 motorcyclists died on Utah roads, each more than in 2021. UDOT said these are the most vulnerable road users, with less protection than people traveling in cars and trucks.

The other concerning increase is in risky behaviors like aggressive driving.

“As the new year begins, we encourage everyone to resolve to drive safer,” said Sgt. Cameron Roden, Utah Highway Patrol public information officer. “Resolutions focus on making small changes over a long period of time to form habits and improve quality of life. Those habits are formed by starting with the fundamentals. So just like you would with other resolutions, we want to go back to the basics.”

DPS said some “back to basics” tips for all road users include:

  • Buckle up. No matter the distance, weather, vehicle or time of day. Resolve always to wear a seat belt and wear it properly.
  • Watch speed and abide by the speed limit when road conditions are good.  When the roads get wet, snowy or icy, adjust speed to maintain control.
  • Use blinkers for all turns or change lanes. 
  • Review the rules of the road, like zipper merges and proper railroad crossing. The signal to cross a railroad safely is when the lights stop flashing, not the raised barriers. 
  • Commit to giving semi-trucks space: two headlights in the rearview mirror or stay clear. 
  • Parents, teach kids safe pedestrian habits like wearing reflective gear and choosing a safe route to school.
  • Drivers, make a special effort to completely stop and look at intersections. Twelve children (ages 0-9) were killed on Utah roads last year. 
Ashton Edwards jumped at the chance to join the KPCW team as director of digital media in 2022. She has been telling stories for a living for about a decade with stints in Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, St. Louis and now Park City.