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UHP reminds drivers to use caution during holiday travel

By John Daley | Posted - Nov. 24, 2011 at 5:15 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Traffic can move normally, smoothly even, but within a matter of seconds, cars can collide, rollovers can happen.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Nolan Kerr will tell you it can happen at any time.

"I don't know of any crashes that aren't avoidable," he said.

A normal day on the road turns dangerous because of simple factors, said Kerr. That can be drivers following other cars too closely or just going too fast.

"Following too close is one of the top ones I see in crashes," Kerr said. People are following too close and then add that on to speeding."

By the numbers, last year in Utah the number one cause of fatalities in accidents was improper restraint, or the failure fasten a seat belt. But closely following that was speeding, and then driving under the influence.

Since 2000, highway fatalities annually have gone down 37 percent. Still, in 2010, 235 people died on the highway, affecting countless family members. For troopers, that's 235 times they had to do the hardest part of their jobs.

"The bad collisions are always hard to go onto," Kerr said. "And it tears my heart out when I see their families and have to tell them that a loved one has been killed or injured severely.

"It's hard. You can see the pain in their eyes and the sadness that they're facing."

Kerr cautions that those accidents were also avoidable disasters, reminding people to drive carefully.

"If our citizens of our state could follow the laws that are put in place and drive courteously, we could insure that everybody makes it home," he said.

Email:jdaley@ksl.com.

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John Daley

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