The Top 5 Causes of Car Accidents in Utah in 2017

You probably already realize that auto accidents are a leading cause of death and injury. However, you may not know the leading causes of car crashes. Salt Lake personal injury lawyer Darwin Overson takes a closer look at Utah car accident statistics to uncover the top five most common causes of vehicular accidents and car crash fatalities.

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Crash Statistics Show 5 Leading Causes of Car Accidents in Utah

According to CDC car accident statistics, crashes injure more than 2 million people and claim more than 32,000 lives every year. But if you’re looking for crash data specific to Utah, the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) is an even better source for statistics. Every year, the DPS publishes updated reports on when, where, and – perhaps most importantly – why accidents occurred.

Unfortunately, the DPS has yet to release a report on 2017 Utah car accident statistics. That information likely won’t be available until sometime during 2018, since the DPS generally publishes car accident reports one to two years after the data has been collected. (As of June 2017, the 2016 report is still waiting to be released.)

In the meantime, Utah car accident lawyers can compare data from the most recent reports to find information like:

  • How many accidents, injuries, and fatalities occurred during those years.
  • Where and when the most accidents took place.
  • Factors that caused or contributed to the most accidents and fatalities.

Let’s start with the basic facts: total crashes, total injury crashes, total fatal crashes, total people in crashes, total resulting injuries, and total resulting deaths. This data is shown in the table below.

2013 2014 2015
Injury Crashes16,134 (30%)16,426 (30.4%)17,665 (29.4%)
Fatal Crashes202 (0.4%)222 (0.4%)258 (0.4%)
Total Accidents55,63754,03660,012
Total People Involved134,964134,182151,237
Total Injuries22,740 (16.8%)23,364 (17.4%)25,350 (16.8%)
Total Fatalities220 (0.2%)256 (0.2%)278 (0.2%)

Next, let’s look briefly at where and when accidents were primarily occurring.

For all three of the years above, accidents were most likely to occur from about 2:00 or 3:00 P.M. to about 7:00 P.M. This was likely due, at least in part, to commuter traffic. The summer months tended to have the highest number of car accident deaths, though the distribution was more even in 2015 than during previous years. Accidents were consistently most likely to happen in urban areas, such as Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Provo, and West Jordan, with about 84% of all crashes happening in urban settings each year.

As the chart above shows at a glance, Utah’s crash statistics all increased from 2013 to 2015, with one or two exceptions. However, while the number of accidents has climbed, the causes of those accidents have not changed at all, as you can see almost instantly in the chart below.

2013 20142015
#5 Cause of AccidentsDistracted Driving (9%)Distracted Driving (11%)Distracted Driving (10%)
#4 Cause of AccidentsFailure to Stay in Proper Lane (13%)Failure to Stay in Proper Lane (12%)Failure to Stay in Proper Lane (12%)
#3 Cause of AccidentsSpeeding (17%)Speeding (15%)Speeding (18%)
#2 Cause of AccidentsFailure to Yield (18%)Failure to Yield (18%)Failure to Yield (18%)
#1 Cause of AccidentsFollowing too Closely/Tailgating (21%)Following too Closely/Tailgating (21%)Following too Closely/Tailgating (22%)

Even though the causes did not change, the percentage of accidents attributed to those causes did. For example, tailgating has remained Utah’s number one cause of auto accidents since 2013. However, the percentage of accidents caused by tailgating has actually increased with time, climbing slightly to 22% in 2015 from 21% during previous years. In other words, not only is tailgating Utah’s number one accident cause – it’s also responsible for an increasingly large portion of accidents in Utah. If these trends continue, the leading causes of Utah car accidents in 2017 are likely to be tailgating, failure to yield, speeding, improper lane changes, and distracted driving, likely in that order or close to it.

The leading causes of fatal crashes are slightly different from the leading causes of overall crashes. When the data was restricted to top causes of fatal car accidents in Utah, here’s what the data showed from year to year:

2013 20142015
#5 Cause of DeathFailure to Yield (10%)Failure to Yield (12%)Failure to Stay in Proper Lane (11%)
#4 Cause of DeathDrunk Driving (10%)Drunk Driving (18%)Failure to Yield (11%)
#3 Cause of DeathNot Wearing Seatbelts (28%)Failure to Stay in Proper Lane (20%)Drunk Driving (13%)
#2 Cause of DeathFailure to Stay in Proper Lane (35%)Not Wearing Seatbelts (28%)Not Wearing Seatbelts (31%)
#1 Cause of DeathSpeeding (40%)Speeding (43%)Speeding (37%)

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Contact a Salt Lake City Personal Injury Attorney About Your Auto Accident Claim

In some regards, Utah has made progress with road safety initiatives designed to prevent accidents. However, as these troubling statistics make plain, there is still much to be done to increase the prevention of accidents on roads in Utah.

If one of your family members was killed in a fatal auto accident that was caused by speeding, intoxicated driving, improper lane changes, or other driver errors, you should consider discussing your family’s legal options with a Salt Lake City attorney for car accident deaths. Compensation cannot undo the accident, but a wrongful death attorney can help you hold the negligent driver accountable and fight for justice on behalf of your loved one.

Darwin Overson is a Salt Lake City truck accident lawyer serving injury victims throughout the state of Utah. Backed by decades of experience in the courtroom and at the negotiating table, Darwin can assist you with the claims process, fight for a better settlement offer, and if necessary, take your case to trial. To speak with Darwin concerning your claim in a free and confidential legal consultation, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143 today.

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