SALT LAKE CITY — The “100 deadliest days” on Utah roads only started on Memorial Day, but 13 road deaths have occurred in just the past two weeks.
That’s something at the top of the mind when Utah’s troopers patrol the roads. As they say, these accidents boil down to simple mistakes.
Utah Highway Patrol trooper Gary Perea took KSL along in an unmarked squad car to show it wasn’t hard to find concerning driver behavior.
On this night, it didn’t take long during the ridealong family is pulled over for a seat belt violation. They were off with a warning.
“I’ve never understood why it’s so hard for somebody to click a seat belt on,” Perea says.
Throughout his career with UHP, Perea said he’s seen all types of common driving mistakes. People following too close, distracted driving — during this particular night he spots a driver taking a photo with her phone while driving on the highway — and, of course, people driving under the use of substances.
“It’s anything goes,” Perea says. “Drinking alcohol, you’ll see them smoking narcotics. They don’t expect it when they see the lights on this unmarked (car) going on behind them.”
With so many fatal accidents in just the past few weeks, Perea said he and his fellow officers plan to do whatever it takes to make sure Utah roads remain safe.
“I didn’t sign up to this job to investigate fatal crashes,” he said.