Jed Boal ReportingTrooper Dana Kramer, Utah Highway Patrol: “If the weather’s bad, we know we’re going to be doing crashes.”
As Utahns head out on the highways this holiday state troopers aim to keep them safe. But that's a tough job, especially if a storm moves in. Still, the Highway Patrol is on the lookout for aggressive drivers and drowsy drivers who don't know when to take a rest.
So far travel has been pretty calm. But the with rain and snow in the forecast, you may be running on slick roads in the hours and days ahead. After seven years as a state trooper, Dana Kramer is working his first Thanksgiving patrol shift. He's worked all other holidays and expects this one will be safer than Memorial and Labor Days, unless snow flies.
Trooper Dana Kramer: “Especially on the overpasses. It will freeze up and it creates havoc. It’s just like bumper cars bouncing off the walls.”
When it snows state troopers know they'll run from crash to slide-off until the roads are dry. Kramer says he hates to see any crashes, especially those involving kids. That's one reason troopers were aggressively enforcing seatbelt laws yesterday. The Buckle or Busted campaign over several years seems to be working.
Trooper Dana Kramer: "Five years ago, every other car I stopped wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Now, maybe one out of ten."
Still, the trooper says too many drivers are simply flying down the road, faster all the time. Kramer says drivers really push the speeds at the south end of the valley after extra lanes were added during the summer.
Trooper Dana Kramer: “Everybody between 83 and 100, the speeders we were stopping.”
Even when troopers are running a blitz on the area, they cannot keep up with the number of speeders..
Trooper Dana Kramer: “You’d get one ticket finished, just keep your radar on, you’ve got another car coming through at 90-something.”
Traffic on Thanksgiving day is usually moderate. Sunday, when everyone is heading home, it picks up.