Map: See where fatal crashes happen in Utah

The Salt Lake Tribune analyzed data on thousands of fatal crashes in Utah between 2010 and 2023. Here’s what we found.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Crime scene investigators work the scene of an auto-pedestrian fatal accident near the intersection of 900 E. 1700 South in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Crashes and fatalities are on the rise (again) in Utah, even as officials try to address road safety and user behavior.

The Salt Lake Tribune analyzed the past 10 years of traffic fatality and crash data in Utah, through a state database and state-provided data on fatalities, to determine where fatal crashes happen most often and the factors that cause them.

The number of crashes statewide rose 35.3% between 2010 and 2019, before dropping by 20% in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Utah Highway Safety Office database.

Crashes were up again in 2021, dipped again in 2022, then rose by 8% in 2023.

There haven’t been more than 300 fatal crashes in a year in the last decade, but 2021 and 2022 came close. There were 295 fatal crashes each of those years and more than 300 fatalities – 332 in 2021 and 319 in 2022.

Read more on what we found: Here’s where Utahns die in car crashes — and what engineers are doing to improve safety.

The state’s fatality rate has held mostly steady even as the number of people driving on Utah’s roads, said Robert Miles, who heads the Traffic and Safety Division at the Utah Department of Transportation.

Most fatal crashes happen along the Wasatch Front, and many of those crashes are along Interstate 15, according to data the state provided through a public records request.

But those fatal crashes in Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties made up less than 1% of overall crashes, according to overall crash statistics.

Rural counties have higher fatality rates, matching national trends in data from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Utah is working toward zero fatalities, Miles said, through infrastructure improvements and multi-agency efforts at education.

The education isn’t about blame, he said, but about making sure people know how to best interact with the roadway system.

There are still a lot of ways Utah can improve, Miles said, but “everyone has done a lot of work to get numbers down,” including local governments and communities across the state.

“We will continue to work to improve this until we get to zero fatalities,” Miles said. “We’re in this for the long haul to make sure we provide the best, safest transportation system we can.”