82% increase in wrong-way drivers in 2022, says Utah Highway Patrol
Would new signage help? That's one idea officials say may address the problem
By Suzie Ziegler
SALT LAKE CITY — A deadly trend has the Utah Highway Patrol on their toes. According to FOX 13, the agency has reported an 82% increase in wrong-way drivers in 2022. So far this year, the UHP has seen 20 wrong-way crashes, eight of them fatal.
“We've tried to make sure we're in the right place at the right time," Sgt. Cameron Roden told FOX 13. "But we can't predict when and where these are going to happen.”
Roden says most of the wrong-way crashes happen late at night and under the influence.
“Majority of these crashes are impaired drivers," said Roden. "This is something that can definitely be avoided. If we can get those people to make a change, find another ride home, and hopefully we can make a change and turn around this trend that we've been seeing."
To help address this problem, the UHP created a new taskforce with the Utah Department of Transportation. Mitch Shaw, a UDOT spokesperson, says one idea is new signage lower to the ground.
“With lower signage, when they're impaired, they could be slumped over, kind of looking down," Shaw told FOX 13. "Maybe, hopefully, the lower signs catch their eye.”
It happened again. Another fatal crash involving a wrong-way driver in Utah. This one happened last night on Mountain View Corridor. It's at least the 35th wrong-way crash since Jan. 1, and the second in two days. We spoke with @UTHighwayPatrol about them. @KSL5TV at 5 and 9pm. pic.twitter.com/E92lzkkyGa— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) March 13, 2022
According to Shaw, the crashes happen throughout the state.
“These crashes are very sporadic," he said. "So it's not like we can pinpoint one location where there may be a problem or where there may be an issue that we can resolve with some engineering or some better signage.”
In the meantime, UHP is warning people not to drive impaired and reminding everyone to wear seatbelts and avoid distractions.