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New campaign aims to save lives by reducing trash on Utah's roads

The Utah Department of Transportation launched a new campaign Tuesday to encourage people to secure their loads and keep litter off the roads.

The Utah Department of Transportation launched a new campaign Tuesday to encourage people to secure their loads and keep litter off the roads. (Winston Armani, KSL-TV)



SALT LAKE CITY — There has been a rash of trash on Utah's roads in recent years, and it's truly killing people.

The Utah Department of Transportation launched a new campaign Tuesday to encourage people to secure their loads and keep litter off the roads. According to UDOT, unsecured loads and debris cause 1,800 crashes per year.

Four people died last month in Utah from debris-related crashes and 10 people died in 2020.

During the last five years, UDOT road crews have seen more litter piling up, so UDOT launched "Keep it Clean, Utah," a campaign to curb the dangerous tide of litter.

The campaign uses humor to catch our attention, with talking trash puppets named Liddy and Gabley.

In the ads, the puppets talk about everything from appliances, tires and fast food garbage that ends up on the road.

"If you're just driving down I-15 and you come upon that, you're going to swerve to miss it. That creates a danger to you, it creates a danger to everybody else on the road," said UDOT spokesman John Gleason.

UDOT crews now spend nearly 30% more time cleaning up trash than they did five years ago, at a cost of $2.5 million per year for taxpayers.

They waste valuable maintenance time cleaning up ladders, mattresses, appliances and other garbage because people don't secure their loads.

You'll start to see the ads soon on TV, radio and social media.

UDOT officials say they are trying to create awareness for the preventable problem so that we can change our behavior and save lives.

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Jed Boal

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