It's true that the number of fatal car accidents has declined in recent years. But there are still far too many Utahns who lose their lives on the road due to others' negligence.
In Utah and in nine other states, more people were killed by firearms than in motor vehicle accidents in 2009.
In 2009, the number of gun deaths in Utah was 260. This exceeded the 256 people who died in automobile accidents was 256. The statistics were released by the Violence Policy Center, which compiled them from data available from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 2009 statistics for fatal car accidents showed the continuation of a trend in recent years toward fewer deadly crashes. In Utah, the number declined from 322 in 2007 to 306 in 2008 - and down to 256 in 2009.
The trend also continued in the last two years. In 2010, the Utah Department of Transportation reported 253 accident deaths. In 2011, the number went down again, to 233.
The Utah State Patrol says that public awareness efforts by numerous agencies and advocacy groups have helped bring about the decrease in deaths.
It needs to be pointed out, however, that over 200 people losing their lives on the road in one year in a relatively small state is still a lot of deaths. There is still considerable work to do to make driving safer in Utah.
Distracted driving, for example, is a serious problem in Utah, just as it is in the rest of the country. But shiny new digital devices are only part of the problem. Defective cars, excessive speed and other factors also cause many accidents.
Source: "In 2009, gun deaths exceeded auto deaths in Utah for first time," Salt Lake Tribune, Jessica Miller, 5-23-12