Distracted Driver Accidents

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Utah Drivers Among the Worst in the County – Why? Distraction Plays a Big Role

Brian DebelleBrian Debelle

Utah drivers have been ranked among the worst in the Nation – ninth worst to be exact (just a year after being ranked third worst and two years after being ranked worst in the nation. Progress is progress).  Distracted driving is a big reason for that.  While not taken directly into account, the study – by quote wizard – baked it in through citation and accident data.

Utah Distracted Driving Statistics

Who is driving distracted in Utah and when?

Younger drivers are almost twice as likely as older drivers to be involved in a distracted driving accident.  Teen drivers lead the way with over 6 distracted driving collisions per 1,000 licensed drivers. For comparison, that is more than triple the rate of 40 – 45-year-olds.

Driver distraction crashes peaked during the hours of 4:00 p.m.-6:59 p.m, falling right in line with rush hour.

What is distracting Utahns?

The cell phone, unsurprisingly, is the single biggest cause of distraction in Utah distracted driving accidents.

  1. Cell Phone (15%)
  2. Other Inside Distraction (11%)
  3. Passengers (11%)
  4. Other External Distraction (10%)
  5. Radio/CD/DVD etc. (8%)
  6. Other Electronic Device (3%)
  7. Texting (1%)
  8. Other (41%)

Where to be on the lookout in Utah?

Major metro areas are typically where distracted driving collisions aggregate.  However, in Utah, Cache, Utah, Weber, and Grand Counties had the highest percentage of crashes that involved a distracted driver.  However, Salt Lake City did lead the way in fatal crashes involving distraction.

Utah Distracted Driving Laws

Utah has passed several laws to combat the distracted driving epidemic. In 2007, the state passed a law that prohibited handheld telephone use which could only be enforced if a moving traffic violation was committed. This was an attempt to move drivers towards hands free devices or curb cell phone use entirely.  However, while observed cell phone use decreased since the law was passed, people still regularly use their phones.

In 2009, texting and driving was prohibited by law and in 2011 texting was added to the distracted driving options on the police traffic crash report.

Distracted driving is considered a primary offense – meaning police officers can pull over a driver they observe on a cell phone without needing another reason.  The fine for the initial is generally $100 and is considered a class C misdemeanor.

Do you part. Pledge to not drive distracted.

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