Category Archives: Zero Crashes, Injuries and Fatalities

Media Availability: Teen Survivors & Safety Advocates Urge Utahns—Buckle Up this Thanksgiving and Always

For Immediate Release:

Teen Survivors & Safety Advocates Urge Utahns—Buckle Up this Thanksgiving and Always

Buckled, roll-over crash leaves teens grateful for seat belts and a second chance at life

 

WHAT: Media availability with Utah teen crash survivors* and their families to remind Utahns to always buckle up – especially this holiday season.

The Utah Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety and the Hold on to Dear Life campaign are encouraging increased seat belt use during Thanksgiving holiday travel. Utah law enforcement officers will be working Click It or Ticket overtime shifts to stop and educate unbuckled motorists.

*Six teens rolled their truck along Alpine Loop near Sundance on October 15, 2016. All six survived the crash with minimal injury, and credited seat belts for saving their lives.

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 from 11a.m. – 12 p.m.

11 a.m. Welcome and introductions
11:05 a.m. Brief review of teen crash
11:10 a.m. Colonel Rapich remarks
11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m.  One-on-one interviews

WHERE: RC Willey, 2301 S 300 W, Salt Lake City, UT

WHO:

  • Teen crash survivors Lauren Monson (17), Kaylee Dial (16), Dylan Verbanatz (17), Brooklyn Hale (17), Doyoung Park (17) – and family members
  • Representatives from UDOT and UHP, including the UHP trooper first on scene
  • Hold on to Dear Life Representatives

VISUALS:

  • Teens and family members
  • Photo display of the crashed truck, friends and homecoming
  • RC Willey living spaces
  • Hold on to Dear Life PSA highlighting teens

WHY: Nearly 50 percent of traffic fatalities are unbuckled. Seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury. This Thanksgiving holiday will be one of the busiest on Utah roads.

Media Contacts:

John Gleason
UDOT Public Information Officer
jgleason@utah.gov
Cell: 801-560-7740

Sgt. Todd Royce
UHP Public Information Officer
troyce@utah.gov
Cell: 801-556-8261

Zero Fatalities Seeking Utah’s Top Teen Talent for 2017 Super Bowl Spot

 For Immediate Release:

 

Zero Fatalities Seeking Utah’s Top Teen Talent for 2017 Super Bowl Spot

Teens can submit videos about traffic safety for the chance to win coveted airtime during the Big Game

 

SALT LAKE CITY (Nov. 10, 2016) – UDOT’s Zero Fatalities program is calling on Utah teens to submit their best safety video for a chance to have it air during the 2017 Super Bowl. Teens throughout the state are encouraged to submit a 25-second video from now until January 6, 2017, on the Zero Fatalities website.

All entrants will receive five movie ticket vouchers for entering. Entrants submitting before December 10, 2016 will receive five movie tickets to a private, opening-weekend showing of Star Wars: Rogue One, at Jordan Commons, while tickets last.

The winning video will air during the Super Bowl telecast in February.

“When it comes to traffic safety, the most influential spokesperson for teens are their peers,” said Kristen Hoschouer, manager of the Zero Fatalities program for the Utah Department of Transportation. “The aim of this contest is to get teens to pay attention to the very important and serious issue of increasing teen driving safety, while also building a network of teen traffic-safety advocates who understand that zero teen fatalities is the only acceptable goal.”

To be considered, a submitted video must be:

  • Teen directed and produced
  • 25 seconds in length
  • Focused on Zero Fatalities and the five deadly driving behaviors. (Note: the video doesn’t have to include all five behaviors [distracted, drowsy, aggressive, impaired driving and not buckling up], but must address at least one behavior.)
  • Submitted no later than Jan. 6, 2017. Submissions must be made on the Zero Fatalities website, at ZeroFatalities.com/contest/.

Last year, 25 teens died in crashes on Utah roads. As of the end of October, there have already been 26 teen deaths in 2016. More than 60 percent of teen traffic fatalities were unbuckled in 2015. Statistics suggest drivers under the age of 20 are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash.

“When it comes to combating the behaviors killing teens on Utah roads, teen-to-teen communication is incredibly powerful,” Hoschouer said. “Not only will this contest get teens thinking about how they can improve their driving, but it will help further the family and community discussion needed to save lives.”

To learn more about the contest, visit ZeroFatalities.com/contest/.

Media Contact:

John Gleason
UDOT Public Information Officer
jgleason@utah.gov
Cell: 801-560-7740

Also available for interview:
Chad Lythgoe
Drivers Education Teacher – Wood Cross High School
clythgoe@dsdmail.net
Cell: 801-725-1048

10th Annual Utah Fallen Officer Memorial Ride – An Employee Perspective

By Lisa Miller, Traveler Information Manager

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Over the course of my career at UDOT, I’ve been fortunate to be involved in many unique opportunities that support Utah’s economy and keeps Utah moving. From special events that draw hundreds of thousands of attendees, to Governor Inaugurations and every day traffic events, we get to interact with a variety of UDOT partners on a regular basis. One of our most frequent partners, law enforcement, goes above and beyond every day to keep us safe. For that reason, I felt that the 10th Annual Utah Fallen Officers Memorial motorcycle ride was one that could not be missed.

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UDOT Region 2 staff and Utah Highway Patrol dispatchers participated in the ride.

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Billy is a UDOT employee and works in the Incident Management Team.

On Sunday, August 21, thousands of motorcycle riders began the tribute ride in Lindon, Utah. Several UDOT employees participated in the event as a way to thank and support our law enforcement partners. UDOT’s Incident Management Team (IMT) drivers interact with Utah Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies on a daily basis. The ride progressed through Utah’s beautiful mountainside scenery and eventually led to the Utah State Capitol for a memorial ceremony.

Once the ride attendees reached the capitol, the memorial ceremony included a message from Colonel Michael Rapich from the Utah Highway Patrol. Officer Doug Barney, who was killed in the line of duty in January 2016, had several family members attending the event. Officer Barney’s young son, Jack, addressed the group with poise and said he visits the Memorial at the Capitol often. The Salt Lake City Police Department’s Explorer program, which allows teenage children to participate in an education program encouraging a future law enforcement career, received pins from children of fallen officers. While it was amazing to see all of the support for local law enforcement, the event was bittersweet.

 

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Utah Highway Patrol’s motor squad was well represented.

Dozens of law enforcement agencies sent their motor squads to participate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on Utah’s Fallen Officer Memorial, please visit https://www.utahsfallen.org/.

 

 

How GIS Improves Data Quality

Quality Data

Screenshot of UPlan

Screenshot of UPlan Map Center

State routes and associated features, like mile markers, structures, and even fiber optic cable, can be represented by geo-located points or lines. The UPlan Map Center  provides a way to put data sets on a map, which makes the location of projects and features easy to find. A map can highlight errors and aid quality control. GIS also helps facilitate feedback from decision makers and the public by connecting data owners with data users to.

While putting data on a map sounds simple, “going from a non-visual data environment to a visual one is a complete transformative game-changer,” explains Rod McDaniels, Outdoor Inventory Control (OAC) Manager. For decades, the Department’s Outdoor Advertising Control Program struggled to consistently and quickly identify which routes in the state required billboard control and to pinpoint the exact location of permitted billboards on those routes. Records for the program were kept in individual online or hard copy files which had written descriptions of billboard locations.

UDOT recently combined all route and billboard data into the Outdoor Advertising Control Map. GIS has vastly improved the OAC program’s data quality. “GIS allows users to gain a visual understanding the geographic distribution of permitted billboards in the state. It quickly tells a story that cannot be told through endless spreadsheet rows.  It has exponentially improved QC/QA activities, and it has revolutionized service delivery to a broad spectrum of stakeholders.”

A bridge too far

Putting GIS data on a map also highlights location errors. “It’s like shining a light on something that can otherwise get buried,” says Sarah Rigard, UDOT GIS Program Manager. When the UDOT Structures Division data was put on a map, some of the bridges showed up in the wrong location – one was in Nevada. “A slight typo in a lat-long coordinate will cause the point to be in the wrong location.” Checking for errors on a map can be easier and more effective than checking a spread sheet line by line.

Making decisions

The purpose of the annual Utah Transportation Commission Workshop is to develop funding strategies and identify upcoming projects for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). UDOT’s GIS team supports the workshop by developing presentation materials such as PDF maps, tables, and storymaps on UPlan. Developing presentations has spurred discussion of what information from the Electronic Program Management (ePM) database is the most useful and helpful to convey, and how that information should be presented to provide a thorough representation of transportation needs.

GIS tools provide another way review data, which improves the quality. As a result, UDOT has better information for making decisions and better tools for presenting information to stakeholders.

Slow Down for National Work Zone Safety Week

Work Zone

We are teaming up with the Association of General Contractors to celebrate National Work Zone Safety Week by reminding drivers to slow down and focus on the road, especially in work zones.

In 2015, a total of 2,849 motor vehicle crashes occurred in Utah work zones, resulting in 10 deaths. According to the Federal Highway Administration, speeding was a factor in 29 percent of all fatal work zone crashes in 2014, while distracted driving contributed to 16 percent. Currently there have been zero fatalities in Utah work zones in 2016.

“We are doing everything we can to keep our work zones safe for those who travel through them and those who work in them. But there’s only so much we can do. We need the public’s help,” said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras. “Slow down, put down the phone, be alert, and obey the laws – especially when driving through a work zone.”

In addition, UDOT release a 30-second PSA to remind drivers of the risks UDOT workers face every day in the work zone. The PSA is told from the perspective of UDOT employees’ children, who want to see their parents come home safe every night.

“Work zones are places where real people do their jobs every day,” said Rich Thorn, president and CEO of the Associated General Contractors. “They have families and other people who care about them and want to see them come home safe. Knowing that should motivate drivers to be alert and slow down in work zones.”

Safety is the number one priority for each of UDOT’s more than 150 projects this year.  For example, the Point project requires every employee to participate in weekly safety training. Also, to further protect it’s 1,500 employees from traffic, crews placed more than 24 miles of concrete barrier, which is 50 percent more than the contract required, as this barrier provides a safer work zone for employees.

Work zones are dynamic places that can change from minute to minute. UDOT urges drivers to be safe and help reach Zero Fatalities by:

  • Driving the posted speed limit.
  • Paying 100 percent attention to the roadway, as lanes are often narrowed and shifted for construction.
  • Eliminating distracting activities, such as changing radio/music, using mobile devices (surfing, tweeting, talking, texting), eating and drinking, putting on makeup, and reaching while driving.
  • Minimizing lane changes within the work zone.
  • Merging into the proper lane well before reaching a lane closure.
  • Watching out for workers and their equipment in the work zone, as they can be especially hard to see at night.

UDOT encourages drivers to check the UDOT Traffic App (available for Android and Apple devices) to view current traffic conditions, locate work zones, or plan the best route before travel. Drivers are also encouraged to TRAVELWise around freeway construction by adjusting schedules to travel during less-congested times of day. Drivers can also take transit or telework to skip congestion and work zones.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration celebrate National Work Zone Safety Week each spring to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety in work zones. UDOT continues to participate in this observance in order to raise driver awareness, protect employees and reach Zero Fatalities in work zones.

Improvements in Layton resume with traffic shift, bridge demolition

LAYTON — With Layton Improved construction resuming after a brief winter hiatus, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is advising motorists to be aware of traffic pattern changes in Layton around I-15 and the Hill Field Road interchange beginning Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016.

The Hill Field Road project will move forward with the demolition of existing interchange bridges and construction of a new single-point urban interchange (SPUI). Workers will also finalize improvements to Hill Field Road.  Crews will be working 24 hours a day, six days a week, to finish the project as quickly, efficiently, and as safely as possible while maintaining traffic movement through the area. All traffic lanes will remain open on I-15, and speed limits will not be reduced through the construction zone. Please stay alert and use caution as you drive through the area.

Traffic Shift

Beginning Wednesday, construction crews will shift I-15 traffic in the area onto a detour bridge on the west side of the interstate. Southbound traffic will shift onto the detour bridge on Wednesday morning, Feb. 17. Northbound traffic will make the shift on Thursday morning, Feb. 18. The traffic shift will be in place in both directions through mid-April.

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Left turns on the off-ramps will be closed from now through July 2016, so motorists will need to follow the detour signs to turn right and travel through the ThrU Turns.

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Trucking companies that normally use Hill Field Road to access businesses west of Layton should plan to use the Layton Parkway Interchange (Exit 330) or Antelope Drive (Exit 332) to access those businesses and industries through July.

Bridge Demolition

Following the traffic shift, the section of Hill Field Road underneath I-15 will be closed on the evenings of Feb 20-21 so crews can demolish both bridges. It is suggested that motorists pay particular attention to  signage that day for detour routes. The new SPUI bridges are being constructed offsite and will be moved into place through UDOT’s innovative accelerated bridge construction process. The northbound part of the bridge will slide into place in early March, and traffic will switch onto the northbound bridge in mid-April. Crews will then complete the southbound bridge and will slide it into place in April.

What to expect when it’s completed

Once the project is completed in Fall 2016, congestion in the area will be reduced by five minutes, thanks to:

  • Four ThrU Turn intersections (already completed)
  • Three additional lanes on Hill Field Road
  • Wider bridges on I-15 over Hill Field Road
  • A single-point urban interchange (SPUI) that will merge traffic at the off-ramps, controlled by one traffic signal.

Since the completion of the ThrU Turns, traffic flow has improved and delays reduced in the area. UDOT and Layton City are working together to tailor solutions that meet the city’s unique traffic challenges, and we’re excited to see the full project benefits realized when all the improvements are completed in fall 2016.

For more information, call the Layton Improved team at (801) 904-4064, e-mail laytonimproved@utah.gov, or visit www.udot.utah.gov/LaytonImproved

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Local Eagle Scout supports IMT Teddy Bear program

When Clark Fox decided to collect stuffed animals for his Eagle Project,  he was totally surprised with the result. The high school junior from Riverton, Utah collected roughly 600 stuffed animals, which were then given to UDOT’s Incident Management Team, the Utah Highway Patrol, and various homeless shelters for distribution to children who find themselves in traumatic situations.  He delivered the animals to the Traffic Operations Center in December and was thanked on behalf of the organizations that will receive the stuffed animals.

Jeff Reynolds, the Roadway Safety Manager and first responder from the IMT department, told Clark stories of the happiness, joy and calming effect he sees firsthand when the stuffed animals are given to children after an incident on the highway.

Clark and his family were then given a tour of the TOC by Wayne Jager to show all the areas that the TOC covers. Clark has a love of “robotics”, so maybe someday we’ll see Clark back at UDOT working on a drone project in the future.

L-R: somebody, IMT manager Jeff Reynolds, Clark Fox, ___ and TOC Director Rob Clayton pose after Fox delivered hundreds of stuffed animals to the IMT for distribution

L-R: Richard Shelley, IMT manager Jeff Reynolds, Clark Fox, Clark’s mom, and TOC Director Rob Clayton pose after Fox delivered hundreds of stuffed animals to the IMT for distribution

This post was written by Richard Shelley of the UDOT Traffic Operations Center.

Incident Management adds softness to gritty job

A new friendly face is riding along on Utah’s highways with the UDOT Incident Management Team drivers: A soft, warm, fuzzy face of a teddy bear.

The teddy bear is part of a new program focused on helping those with young children cope in the face of accidents.  IMT drivers are now carrying teddy bears to give away to those affected by a crash, especially since it can be a frightening experience for young children.

A mother holds her child and a new teddy bear while the IMT provides assistance.

A mother holds her child and a new teddy bear while the IMT provides assistance.

 

“The Utah Highway Patrol started handing out teddy bears to young children that had been involved in an accident. It seemed to help the child take his or her mind off the accident and get them something to comfort them,” UDOT  state IMT manager Jeff Reynolds said. “The Incident Management Team has adopted the same program, due to limited space in police cruisers. In its short time, we have seen a meaningful impact on those we have been able to help.”

Reynolds said a citizen donation program is being considered in the future. UDOT and the Department of Public Safety will have more news when it becomes available.

 

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A variety of teddy bears and other plush animals await their ride with the Incident Management Team.

The first goal of the IMT team is to make sure those involved in an accident and working an accident scene are safe and then clear the roads for other drivers to prevent secondary crashes. You’ll find them helping to change a tire, putting warning signs up to protect officials at an accident scene, giving a gallon of gas to a stranded motorist, or cleaning up after an accident. After the crash scene is secure, they want to help those in the crash feel safe and get the drivers on their way.

Please remember to give IMT and Highway Patrol adequate room when you see them passing and slow down to decrease the possibility of a secondary accident.

This post was written by Adam McMillan, Traffic Operations Center Intern.

Gov Herbert says updated Walking School Bus app is a SNAP

On Thursday morning, August 13, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert put on his sneakers and joined UDOT’s Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP) to walk to school with a group of Sugarhouse families. The short stroll was part of UDOT SNAP’s kick-off to celebrate the new-and-improved Walking School Bus mobile app.

While accompanying the students to school, Gov. Herbert praised UDOT SNAP for creating the free, forward-thinking app, which empowers parents to allow their children to walk and bike to school.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert walks with school children in Sugarhouse to celebrate the new "Walking School Bus" app

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert walks with school children in Sugarhouse to celebrate the new “Walking School Bus” app

“Walking and biking to school makes our neighborhoods safer, our air cleaner and our children healthier. It also helps to build a greater sense of community,” Gov. Herbert said. “I encourage all parents who live within walking distance of school to download the free UDOT Walking School Bus App, join or organize a walking group and start the school year off right by making walking and biking to and from school a habit.”

During the walk, Gov. Herbert also encouraged the young students to continue their studies.

Parents were interested to learn that the updated Walking School Bus app now included easy tutorials, a way to invite their friends via text and social media, and that the app appears to be more navigable. They also remarked on how important the safety features on the app are to them.

Kids like the app, too.

“I feel safe, and I like walking with my friends,” nine-year-old Alex Beasley said. “And it also saves gas because you’re not using your cars.

UDOT developed and launched the free app in August 2014 to help make walking and biking to school safer and easier. With the app, parents can create and join walking groups, send messages within the app to coordinate walks, and even notify other parents when students have arrived at school. In its first year, more than 500 walking school bus groups were created across the state, and parents and students using the app reduced 91,000 car trips and 37 million grams of CO2 emissions, walked 88,000 miles and burned 8.8 million calories.

The free Walking School Bus App is available for download for iPhone and Android devices. For more information, visit http://www.udot.utah.gov/walkingschoolbus.

MEDIA STORIES ON THIS EVENT:

Gov. Herbert backs UDOT’s ‘Walking School Bus’ AppABC News 4 Utah

UDOT aims to reduce pollution, increase child safety and exercise with ‘Walking School Bus’ appFox 13 News

Herbert, students trade wheels for sneakers on ‘walking school bus’ Deseret News

Reserve family gets walking with Utah governor – Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System

UDOT Walking School Bus app aims to improve safety KSL5 News

Guv encourages Utah parents to ditch the school carpools in favor of walkingThe Salt Lake Tribune

Governor says kids should ditch carpools and walk to schoolThe Daily Herald

 

 

 

 

#MessageMonday: Seat Belts On, Phones Off

Editors Note: #messageMonday is part of a relatively new, ongoing Zero Fatalities campaign aimed at improving safety behaviors on Utah roads. It is a partnership between UDOT and the Utah Department of Public Safety. More information about the campaign can be found here

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They’re two of the main killers on Utah roads: seat belts (or not wearing them) and cell phones.

According to The National Safety Council, it’s estimated that 1.4 million crashes each year involve drivers using phones (e.g. making calls, choosing music, reading e-mails and texting), and a minimum of 200,000 additional crashes each year involve drivers who are texting. Distracted driving involving some form of phone use accounted for almost 100 fatalities on Utah roads in 2014 ALONE. Whether you’re making a call, looking at a text, or even having Siri send the message for you, there’s too much multitasking for your brain to focus on driving safely, and all too often, it leads to a car crash.

Distracted driving phones

And no matter what caused the crash, your chances of survival increase significantly if you’re wearing a seat belt. Since 2005, unrestrained or improperly restrained victims account for just about half of all car-related deaths on Utah roads. Wearing your seat belt isn’t just a personal choice: it affects everyone around you. In fact, statistics show that unbuckled passengers can increase probability of death for other people in the car by 40 percent. Of course, since May 2015, it’s also the law for everyone to buckle up any time you’re on the road.

So there are the facts.


At UDOT and Zero Fatalities, we’re not trying to scare you into practicing safe driving techniques; it’s about more than that. It’s about each and every life that could have been saved had a different choice been made. It’s about that brother, sister, mother, father, friend, or other loved one who isn’t here, but should be. Car crashes may be inevitable, even with safely designed roads and careful drivers. But each time we get into a vehicle, we can control the choices we make to help keep our roads safer — for our families, our neighbors, and ourselves.

So please wear your seat belt. Wait until your trip is done to make that call or send that text. Your family and friends will be grateful for that choice when you make it to them safely.