The Beehive State is home to five of the nation’s most popular--and beautiful--national parks. It’s been touted as home to “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” thanks to its dry and fluffy snowfall, making it a world-class destination for skiing and snowboarding. Besides its natural draws, the state is also home to several vibrant major cities that draw tourists and new transplants as well. Unfortunately, Utah car accident statistics show that the state’s popularity also leads to plenty of accidents.
Leave the cities behind, and you’ll find that Utah is home to thousands of miles of wide-open roads that rarely see traffic jams. Of course, traffic jams and accidents don’t always go hand-in-hand. Both traffic-packed highways and winding desert roads see their share of accidents.
Whether you’re moving to the state or here for a visit, understanding Utah car accident statistics can help you understand how the state stacks up against others in terms of roadway safety. Let’s take a look at some statistics and information about the state’s roadways.
Utah Car Accident Statistics Explained
The Utah Department of Public Safety Highway Safety Office tracks Utah car accident statistics and other information each year. This information serves a variety of purposes. Perhaps most importantly, accident stats are used to measure the success of new safety measures.
Having several years' worth of data about accidents allows the Highway Safety Office to determine whether changes they are implementing have been effective.
What metrics and statistics does the Utah Department of Public Safety Highway Safety Office track? One important statistic that they track and analyze each year is the number of motor vehicle accidents. These accidents are also separated into different categories. This includes the number of fatal crashes, as well as the number of people injured in car accidents.
It can be difficult to read statistics about car accidents in Utah and imagine those statistics as real accidents and lives lost.
To help the public better understand the impact of these Utah car accident statistics, officials also break them down further into easy comparisons. For instance, in their annual reports, they usually include a statistic that describes how many accidents occur in Utah in a certain time frame. For instance, they might say that an accident occurs every 10 minutes. Or that a person is hurt in a crash every 15 minutes.
Another important statistic that is tracked is any contributing circumstances that may have been a factor in an accident. These statistics help to better inform the public of dangerous habits while driving. This includes things like using a cellphone while driving or following too closely behind the car in front of you.
Recent Statistics on Crashes and Casualties on Utah’s Roadways
Because of the amount of data that needs to be gathered, studied, and analyzed, it takes several years for the Utah Department of Public Safety Highway Safety Office to release its compiled data. For that reason, the most recent Utah car accident statistics available today are those from the year 2018.
Let's take a look at car accident statistics from that year in Utah.
Utah Car Accident Statistics
- In 2018, 62,074 car accidents took place on roadways across the state of Utah. This includes car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and any other type of motor vehicle accident.
- Of the more than 62,000 motor vehicle accidents, 237 of those crashes involved at least one fatality in the vehicle.
- The 237 fatal crashes resulted in 260 deaths in total.
- In the 62,074 motor vehicle accidents, 25,645 people were injured non-fatally. This number includes both individuals who suffered minor accidents like scrapes and bruises. It also includes all serious, but non-fatal accidents.
Breaking Down Utah Car Accident Statistics
To make it easier to grasp the sheer volume of crashes, injuries, and fatalities that took place in Utah in 2018, experts broke down the data into several comparisons.
- Every 8.5 minutes in Utah in 2018, a motor vehicle crash occurred
- On average, an individual was injured in a car accident every 20.5 minutes
- A fatality occurred as a result of a car accident once every 33.7 hours in the state
Contributing Circumstances in Utah Crashes
Understanding the most common contributing circumstances to crashes in Utah is important. Educating the public on this information may help to reduce the number of accidents, as drivers become more aware of dangerous habits behind the wheel.
The top 5 most common contributing circumstances in all motor vehicle accidents in 2018 were:
- Following too close behind the next car was a contributing cause in 21 percent of all accidents
- Failing to yield to the right-of-way was a contributing cause in 17 percent of all accidents
- Speeding was a contributing cause in 11 percent of all accidents
- Drifting out of the proper lane was a contributing cause in 9 percent of all accidents
- Changing lanes improperly was a contributing cause in 4 percent of all car accidents
To better understand the impact of these and other contributing factors, experts also ranked them to see which were the most common in accidents that led to a fatality.
The most common driver contributing circumstances in fatal accidents in Utah in 2018 included:
- Failing to stay in the correct lane was a contributing circumstance in 21 percent of all fatal accidents
- Speeding contributed to 20 percent of all fatal crashes
- Failure to yield to the right-of-way was a contributing circumstance in 9 percent of all fatal accidents
- Running off the road was a contributing cause in 6 percent of all fatal crashes
- Ignoring or missing traffic signals like stop signs or stop lights was a contributing cause in 4 percent of all fatal accidents
Experts also found that distracted driving, including talking on a cell phone, texting, or distraction from passengers in the vehicle, was a factor in just under 9 percent of all car accidents.
When and Where Crashes Were More Common
Every time an accident occurs in the state, information is logged. This includes details about who is involved, whether or not their were injuries or fatalities, and smaller details, like the time and location of the crash.
- In 2018, crash rates in Utah were the most common between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
- Four counties had the highest crash rates per miles traveled. These counties included Salt Lake, Weber, Cache, and Utah counties.
- Unsurprisingly, urban areas had a higher rate of car accidents per miles traveled than rural areas. More vehicles on roadways often go hand-in-hand with more accidents, as the impact of driver error is often far worse than on open, empty roads.
- However, rural areas had a higher rate of fatal accidents. In fact, car accidents occurring in rural areas were 8 percent more likely to lead to a fatality than those occurring in urban areas.
How Did Car Accidents in 2018 Stack Up to Previous Years?
Having Utah car accident statistics for each year makes it easy to see how safety on the roadways may have changed from one year to the next.
However, comparing car crash statistics in Utah in 2018 to the three years prior, crash rates and statistics stayed nearly the same since 2016.
Seat Belt Stats
It’s no secret that wearing your seat belt could save your life in an accident. Yet, only about 90 percent of the populationregularly wears their constraint while driving or riding in a vehicle.
Were drivers and passengers in Utah buckling up? Here’s what statistics have to say:
- 2018 saw the lowest total number of unrestrained deaths in Utah in the past 10 years.
- Of those passengers and drivers who survived a car accident, 99 percent were wearing a seatbelt. Only 65 percentof those who were killed in a car crash were wearing a constraint.
- Passengers and drivers in heavy trucks, like semi-trucks or delivery vehicles, were the most likely to be killed while unrestrained by a seatbelt in their vehicle.
- More drivers were likely to be involved in accidents while unrestrained in rural areas than in urban ones.
- Passengers and drivers involved in rural accidents were over 3 times more likely to not be wearing a seatbelt than those in urban areas.
- Children were more likely to not be properly restrained the older they were when the crash occurred. For instance, 92 percent of 1-year-olds were properly restrained, compared to just 33 percent of 7-year-olds.
Other Utah Car Accident Statistics and Information
Other statistics and information that officials gathered in Utah in 2018 include:
- Speed was a factor in 8,865 crashes that occurred in 2018. In these crashes, 4,203 injuries occurred, as well as 69 fatalities.
- Of the total number of fatal accidents that occurred in Utah, 27 percent were speed-related.
- Crashes in which speed was a factor were more common during the early morning hours, and especially common between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
Alcohol and Drug-Related Accidents
- Of the accidents that occurred in Utah in 2018, 1,915 involved a driver under the influence of alcohol. These crashes resulted in 1,224 injuries and 67 deaths.
- Drivers who were between the ages of 21 and 29 were the largest age group involved in alcohol-related accidents.
- While the annual number of alcohol-related accidents had been on the decline since 2015, they spiked in 2018.
- Compared to all other causes of accidents, drug-related crashes were 33 times more likely to cause at least one fatality.
- 1,049 accidents in which drugs were a factor occurred in 2018. In those accidents, 782 injuries and 94 deaths
- Those drivers who were between the ages of 16 and 29 were the most likely to be involved in drug-related accidents.
Distracted Driving Accidents
- Distracted driving was a factor in 5,772 accidents that occurred in Utah in 2018. These accidents resulted in 3,123 injuries and 18 deaths.
- Of the distracted driving-related chase, over half were read-end accidents.
- There are a variety of types of distracted driving. The most common distractions behind Utah accidents in 2018, in order, were cell phone use, distractions in the car like the radio or eating, external distractions, and passengers.
- Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In 2018, 1,330 accidents occurred as a result of a drowsy driver. Of the total number of fatalities caused by accidents in Utah in the past 19 years, over 5 percent were related to drowsy driving.
- Young drivers, under the age of 24, were more likely to be in a drowsy-driving-related accident than any other age group.
- Drowsy driving car crashes were most likely between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. During this time, 7 percent of all drowsy driving accidents occurred.
- Accidents caused by driving drowsy spiked in May, July, and August.
Teenage Drivers and Car Accidents
- Of the more than 60,000 accidents in Utah in 2018, 13,205 involved teenage drivers. That’s more than 20 percentof the total number of accidents. By comparison, teenage drivers make up just 9 percent of all licensed drivers in the state.
- Teenage drivers ages 17 and 18 have the highest rate of accidents.
- Following too closely and failing to yield to the right of way are causes behind nearly 50 percent of all accidentsinvolving teenagers.
What Can Drivers Learn From Utah Car Accident Statistics
Whether you live in the state or are planning a visit, knowing these Utah car accident statistics is important. They highlight the dangers of distracted driving or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These stats showcase the importance of wearing a seatbelt, and of following all road signs and laws. Understanding common causes behind accidents might just help you stay a little safer on your next road trip.
If you do find yourself the victim of a car accident, a Utah car accident lawyer can help. They’ll help you navigate Utah’s no-fault law and to better understand your options for seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.