up-close shot of fender bender

Of all the jobs undertaken by the Utah Department of Public Safety (UDPS), perhaps the most unsettling is gathering data on the year’s total reported traffic accidents. Mining the yearly reports unlocks a host of different statistics, some of which can be quite shocking.

For instance, the entire roundup of crash data is broken down into two major categories: 

  • Years 
  • Related modifiers. 

Searching the data according to year is pretty straightforward — simply highlight the year you would like to see data from and the report will generate those numbers. Related modifiers, on the other hand, are related to a category that is a bit more nuanced. As it currently stands, there are many dozens of ways the year’s total crash number can be divided; alcohol-related, bicycle-related, and wild animal-related are just a few such examples.

As described by the UDPS, the Utah crash summary, “identifies and describes the trends and effects of traffic crashes in Utah. The statistics within the Utah Crash Summary describe factors that contribute to the occurrence of crashes, and crash-related injuries and fatalities.” 

Naturally, the statistics regarding property damage (the cars themselves) also belie another statistic: the rough estimate of trips to a car repair facility like Master Muffler in the same year.

Collecting the Data

With so many auto crashes each year, one would rightly assume that gathering the related data would be a large undertaking. After all, a UDPS employee can’t be called to the scene of every incident, clipboard in hand, ready to fill out an incident report that would then be entered into a database by a lowly intern.

Instead, the state of Utah has strived to streamline the training process undergone by members of law enforcement, such as the Utah Highway Patrol, to correctly identify the aforementioned “trends and effects.” To that end, a number of learning modules have been developed that can be accessed online, such as:

  • Motor vehicle crash definition
  • Harmful event
  • Manner of collision
  • Speeds
  • Safety equipment
  • Sequence of events
  • Hit and run
  • Roadway description
  • And more…

Before the cars can be towed to our Provo car repair center, the officers on the scene will take special care to take notice of relevant details, such as the state of the drivers and the condition of the road, all according to the training they received in UDPS classrooms.

Learning From the Report

Perhaps the biggest lesson that can be learned from the crash summary report is the renewed respect one gets for driving drunk, or distracted, or at excessive speeds, and how those conditions can easily turn an inconvenient fender-bender into a tragic loss of life.

While 2020 was a relatively “light” year for traffic incidents (2021 already saw the largest fatality rate in 11 years between the months of January and June), interesting data can still be learned. Below is the number of fatalities associated with the listed modifier:

  • Alcohol-related: 54
  • Adverse weather: 15
  • Drug confirmed: 118
  • Distracted driving: 18
  • Improper restraint (seatbelts): 26

The list goes on and on and behind every sad story is the added expense of car repairs, if the car can even be saved. 

Another interesting fact shown by the report is that holidays can be particularly devastating days for crashes. As we approach the end of the year with all its attendant holidays, it’s wise to bring your vehicle to our Provo car repair center for a full tune-up. Nothing beats the confidence of knowing that your vehicle is completely roadworthy.

Categories: Driving Safety

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