Millions of people are preparing to get away for Memorial Day weekend, which marks the beginning of the summer travel season.
According to the Utah Highway Patrol, statistics show that the period between Memorial and Labor Day weekends is extremely dangerous on the roads. Troopers call it the “100 deadliest days” in Utah. “So over the next 100 days, we will experience a death per day,” says UHP Col. Danny Fuhr. “So we have 500 troopers scheduled to work, and we’re going to add 271 troopers to that mix.”
Beginning today, law enforcement officers throughout Utah will fan out on Utah’s roads, keeping watch on all motorists who are driving dangerously. “What they’ll be doing is looking at the five factors that cause death on Utah’s roadways, which are speed, seat belts, DUI’s, distracted driving and drowsy driving,” Fuhr said.
The UHP will keep a close eye on impaired drivers, and to help make that point has partnered with Scheels in Sandy. Inside the store is a large exhibit featuring several stuffed predators found in the wild, including a bear, mountain lion and a rattlesnake. What do they have to do with highway safety?
Says UHP trooper Lawrence Hopper, “The concept was we have all these predators and animals that people are afraid of, but what about the drunk drivers? What about the people who go out, have a good time and then get behind the wheel?” Turns out, stats show that deaths by attacks from these wild animals are nowhere near what drunken drivers cause. “Those are the real predators in the state of Utah that we need to be concerned about,” Hopper says.
On average, 32 people die each year in Utah in drunken-driving accidents. And with Memorial Day weekend kicking off the outdoor recreation season, Scheels and the UHP know that many people will see this display. “Hopefully they’re going to be thinking of themselves and remember this display, and say I don’t want to be part of that statistic, I don’t want to be part of that problem,” Hopper says. “And they’ll be responsible when it comes to drinking and getting behind the wheel.”
Under Utah’s new seat belt law that took effect this month, motorists will get a warning for the first violation. After that, a citation will be issued.
The bottom line, of course, is to try to make these upcoming “100 deadliest days” a little less deadly on Utah’s roads.
For the full article and video, see http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=34741086