Transportation officials' resolution: Zero deaths on Utah roads over New Year's

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SALT LAKE CITY — One person died on Utah roads over Christmas weekend compared with three last year, transportation officials said Wednesday.

But they don't count the reduction as a victory.

"One fatality is too many," said John Gleason, spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation.

Friends and family are mourning the death of Cage Patterson, 19, of Oregon. Patterson was killed Saturday when a family member who was driving fell asleep on I-215 and crashed into a concrete wall, police said.

As New Year's Eve approaches, Gleason cautions drivers to cancel trips if they are drowsy. He also reminds partygoers to arrange for a designated driver if they are going to drink alcohol.

Snow and icy roads also are a concern. On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, when a late-night snowstorm blanketed much of northern Utah, there were 200 accidents, Gleason said. Most were slide-offs from snow, he added.

Gleason and his colleagues are hoping Utah will have a New Year's Eve and New Year's Day like it did in 2012, when there was not a single death on Utah freeways and streets.

Here are the tallies for fatalities on New Year's Eve and Jan. 1 in recent years, according to UDOT:

  • 2016 — 1

  • 2015 — 3

  • 2014 — 2

  • 2013 — 1

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