New Variable Message Sign campaign reminds drivers to stay safe
SALT LAKE CITY — (May 22, 2015) — Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of what is known as the ‘100 Deadliest Days’ of travel on Utah roads, and the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is urging motorists to stay alert and drive safe this summer.
According to UDOT’s most recent fatality report, 89 people have lost their lives this year on Utah roads, compared with 73 at this time last year. That’s an increase of 22 percent. Compared to the rest of the year, traffic fatalities traditionally rise 35 percent between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day. During this stretch last year, 97 people were killed during the ‘100 Deadliest Days’—nearly a fatality a day.
“That’s just not acceptable,” said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras. “When you consider the human cost of these nearly daily tragedies, and their impact on families and communities throughout Utah, you begin to understand why we are doing everything we can to make our Zero Fatalities goal a reality, especially during these critical months of the year.”
Beginning May 22, UDOT will launch a new variable message sign (VMS) campaign, to serve as a reminder that Zero Fatalities will require driver effort and attention. Each Friday, the overhead signs will highlight the number of days during the past week we achieved Zero Fatalities on Utah roads. On Mondays, the signs will display a weekly safety message to engage the public and increase traffic safety awareness.
Through this campaign, motorists are being urged to:
- Drive alert. Make sure you’ve had enough sleep before hitting the road.
- Give the road your full, undivided attention. Put away any distractions, and ask that passengers help you to keep your attention on the road.
- Never drive impaired—this includes alcohol, illicit drugs and even prescription or over-the-counter medications. Impaired driving is anything that inhibits your ability to drive safely.
- Avoid aggressive driving. Aggressive driving means operating a vehicle in a way that endangers, or is likely to endanger, people or property.
- Buckle up—no matter how short your trip. About half of Utah’s vehicle fatalities this year were not wearing seat belts at the time of their crash.
Motorists planning trips on Utah highways during the Memorial Day weekend should plan ahead and check road conditions through the UDOT Traffic website (udot.utah.gov/traffic) or by downloading the UDOT Traffic smartphone application through the iPhone App Store or Android Market. These free tools allow drivers to access up-to-the-minute road conditions and traffic information.