UHP Urges Caution in Driving this Weekend

UHP Urges Caution in Driving this Weekend

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Jed Boal ReportingIt's been a dangerous and deadly dozen days on Utah roads and state troopers hope it doesn't get any worse during the holiday weekend.

More than a quarter-million Utahns are heading out on the highway this weekend to celebrate Independence Day. The Utah Highway Patrol is alarmed at the recent pace of deadly crashes; now they're asking drivers to use common sense to make travel safer.

The summer months are statistically the most dangerous for driving. There are more cars on the roads, but drivers often take more risks too.

Since June 20th, the Highway Patrol has handled 11 crashes that killed 14 people. State Troopers say the numbers are alarming, but they're actually consistent with what they see each year. In fact, last year more people died in June than this year.

Maj. Neil Porter, Utah Highway Patrol: “The potential is just greater for crashes to occur."

Speeding is a factor in a lot of these crashes. But the UHP says fatigue is an even bigger problem during the summer months. People drive too many miles with too little rest.

Maj. Neil Porter: "We have our 75 mile per hour freeways, but people are trying to travel at 85 and above. When you fall asleep at that speed and roll a vehicle, there's not much left of it when it comes to a stop."

Utah numbers show 85-percent now say they wear seatbelts, but nearly 60-percent of all people killed in crashes in 2000 were not wearing seatbelts. If everyone buckled up, statistically the number of highway fatalities could be cut in half.

The Utah Department of Transportation says drivers can expect delays because of ongoing construction projects. It's a good idea to get an early start and make sure you're well rested.

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