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UHP, UDOT set goal: No traffic deaths in August



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SALT LAKE CITY -- June and July have been deadly on Utah roads -- too deadly if you talk with the victims' families and the Utah Highway Patrol.


Utah has seen 44 traffic-related fatalities in the first 53 days of the deadliest 100 days of the year (Memorial Day-Labor Day). -UHP

In all, 117 people have died this year on Utah's roads, and June and July have been especially bad. Now UHP and the Utah Department of Transportation have set a goal for August: no deaths.

"We're starting to get almost a fatality every day, and that is far too many," says Robert Hull, UDOT engineer for traffic and safety.

Records show there were 23 car accident-related deaths in June; in July, there were 20. This trend concerns all the agencies involved with the Zero Fatalities campaign.

"At the end of last year we had 244 fatalities, the lowest number in Utah in 35 years," Hull says.

"The way we measure success in the highway patrol is not by the number of tickets we write or the drunks we arrest. We measure success on the lives that are saved on Utah roadways," says UHP Col. Danny Fuhr.

Holiday Weekend Fatalities

Holiday200520062007200820092010
New Year's Day500210
Memorial Day722642
Independence Day9321213
Pioneer Day45341-
Labor Day36622-
Thanksgiving49530-
Christmas210210-
Zero Fatalities

Even though the death rate isn't quite what it was this time last year, the trend shows an increase -- and this weekend could tip the scale.

"The 24th of July weekend is the second deadliest weekend for Utah drivers," Fuhr says.

So, expect troopers to be out aggressively patrolling the roads. But there are things drivers must do too.

"Don't drive drowsy, distracted, impaired; wear your seat belt," Fuhr says.

"You ask yourself that question: What is the acceptable number of fatalities with your friends and family? The answer is zero. It has to be zero," Hull says.

The most deadly weekend in Utah is the Fourth of July weekend. Fuhr says four people died on that weekend.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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