Fatal Bus Accidents in Utah
In 2016, Utah had an increase in overall highway fatalities over the previous year. In total, 281 people died due to roadway collisions. This was the fourth year in a row that the state had an increase in deaths. At the same time, the nation saw an uptick in crashes involving large trucks or buses. In the years between 2005 and 2009, there was a decrease in fatal collisions. Then, the number of deaths rose 20 percent between 2009 and 2015. Data is collected, and annual reports are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA. The most recent report provides data from 2015.
Leading Causes of Fatal Crashes
Review of Utah fatal traffic crash statistical data in a five-year period from 2012 through 2016 shows some of the most common causes are:
- Unrestrained Occupants
- Drunk Driver
- Failure to Yield
- Distracted Driving
Speeding is consistently reported as being a cause or contributing reason for a crash. Unrestrained occupants could possibly have suffered less serious injuries had they been wearing the correct seatbelt. In some cases, occupants that weren’t wearing seat belts were ejected from the vehicle during a crash.
Distracted driving continues to be a problem that causes both fatal and non-fatal collisions. The most common cause of distracted driving is texting while behind the wheel. Using a cell phone or other electronic device is also considered distracted driving as is eating and drinking and talking to other passengers.
During the years between 2013 and 2015, 32.2 percent of bus drivers were age 46 through 55, and 26.1 percent were between the ages of 56 through 65. In total, 18.4 percent were age 36 to 45, and 10.3 percent were age 65 through 75. Most incidents happened between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and the month of August was the deadliest. More accidents occur in urban areas, but those that happen in rural locations are more likely to be fatal. This is likely due to various factors such as the speed of vehicles and the distance to the nearest medical facility.
The summer months of July and August have seen the highest number of traffic deaths through the years. Overall, the number of deaths on the roadways dipped from 2009 through 2013 and then started to increase. In 2016, fatalities were at the highest they have been in nine years.
Fatal bus crashes occurred with other vehicles 35 percent of the time. Just 15.7 percent of crashes were single-vehicle. In 2015 the most common vehicles involved were:
- Passenger cars – 22.7 %
- Light Trucks – 17.3 %
- Large Trucks – 5.8 %
- Motorcycles – 3.3 %
The highest number of fatalities happened with passenger cars, which are defined as motor vehicles that are used primarily to carry passengers and includes sedans, station wagons, and convertibles, according to the National Highway Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
In 2015, the Utah death rate was below the national average. However, a vehicle accident happened every eight minutes. A person was injured in a vehicle collision every 20 minutes, and a death occurred every 31 hours, on average.