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PHOM Indicator Profile Report of Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Deaths

Why Is This Important?

In Utah in 2017, motor vehicle traffic crashes (MVTCs) accounted for 280 deaths. This was one of the main injury causes of death. Other types of injury death that year included suicide (663), accidental and undetermined poisoning (583), and unintentional falls (224).

Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Death Rates, Utah and U.S., 1999-2017

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Data Sources

  • Utah Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health
  • Population Estimates: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) through a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Census Bureau, IBIS Version 2017
  • National Center for Injury Prevention and Control's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS)

Data Notes

ICD-10 codes V02-04 [.1-.9], V09.2, V12-14 [.3-.9], V19 [.4-.6], V20-28 [.3-.9], V29-79 [.4-.9], V80 [.3-.5], V81-82 [.1], V83-86 [.0-.3], V87 [.0-.8], V89.2.   [[br]][[br]] Data have been age-adjusted to the U.S. 2000 standard population.

Risk Factors

The five most important factors contributing to motor vehicle traffic crash injuries are not wearing a seat belt, drowsy driving, impaired driving (alcohol or drugs), aggressive driving, and distracted driving. Not using a safety belt or a child safety restraint while traveling in a motor vehicle greatly increases the chance of being injured or killed in a crash. When not using these safety devices, a person is more likely to be ejected from the vehicle. A person's driving ability is affected by a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as low as .02%. The likelihood of a crash increases significantly over .05%. Twelve percent of fatal crashes in Utah involve alcohol-impaired drivers^1^. When alcohol is involved, crashes tend to be more severe. As blood alcohol levels increase, balance, coordination, and reasoning ability worsen. Additional information can be found at [].[[br]] [[br]] ---- 1. Utah Department of Public Safety, ''Utah Crash Summary 2016''

How Are We Doing?

The motor vehicle traffic crash (MVTC) death rate has been decreasing in Utah over the past two decades, although there was a significant increase between 2013 and 2014 and remained steady between 2014 and 2017. Among males as a whole there was a significant increase in motor vehicle traffic death rates between 2013 and 2014. Rates have since remained steady through 2017. Among females as a whole, there were no significant changes in motor vehicle traffic death rates between 2013 and 2017. Between 2015 and 2017, San Juan (59.2 per 100,000 population), Southeast (22.4), and Central Utah (15.4) health districts had the highest MVTC death rates. Summit County (3.4 per 100,000 population), Davis County (7.3 per 100,000 population), and Utah County (6.9 per 100,000 population) health districts had the lowest. Utah males aged 65+ had the highest MVTC death rates (21.5 per 100,000 population) between 2015 and 2017, followed by males aged 45-64 (15.6) and males aged 25-44 (14.7). Among females, the highest MVTC death rate was among Utahns aged 65+ (8.5 per 100,000 population).

What Is Being Done?

The Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) provides funding to Utah's 13 local health departments to implement motor vehicle safety programs and Safe Kids coalitions/chapters activities. These programs focus on child passenger safety and teen driving. The VIPP partners with the Utah Teen Driving Safety Task Force, Zero Fatalities Program, and Utah Highway Safety Office, among other state and local agencies to prevent MVTC deaths. For the past eight years, a book has been published that tells the stories of teens who died in motor vehicle-related crashes. The book is distributed to each drivers education instructor in the state as a prevention tool. The books can be downloaded at [] or []. The Utah Department of Transportation Zero Fatalities Program ([]) is a comprehensive, educational campaign aimed at reducing Utah's top five causes of traffic related deaths: not buckling up, drowsy driving, impaired driving, distracted driving, and aggressive driving. Utah is one of 18 states that does not have a primary seat belt law. Primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt, without any other traffic offense taking place. Secondary seat belt laws state that law enforcement officers may issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another citable traffic infraction. The Utah Department of Public Safety conducts an annual safety belt observational survey to determine safety belt use for Utah. Overall, safety belt use in Utah for 2017 was 88.8%, an increase from the 2016 rate of 87.9%. In 1999, a graduated driver licensing law (GDL) was enacted in Utah to address the concern of teenage driving and crashes. GDL programs allow young drivers to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges. GDL programs are proven to reduce the number of fatal crashes among young drivers. Several changes have been made to the Utah GDL since 1999. There has been a 62% decrease in the rate of teens aged 15-17 killed in motor vehicle crashes since the Utah GDL laws went into effect in 1999. Prior to 1999, there was only a 31% decrease. In 2000, the Utah Legislature upgraded the law to make child safety seat use mandatory for children through age four. In 2008, the Utah Legislature enacted a booster seat law, requiring children younger than 8 years of age to use an appropriate child restraint device like a car seat or a booster seat. Previously, the law only required children under the age of 5 to use an approved child restraint device. The new law now protects children from ages 5 through 7 through use of a booster seat or car seat. However, children younger than 8 who are at least 57 inches tall are exempt from the law and may use a regular seat belt. In 2009, the Utah Legislature passed HB290 which prohibits texting and use of electronic mail while driving. In 2013, the Utah Legislature passed HB103 which bans drivers 18 years of age and younger from talking on a cell phone while driving. In 2014, the Utah Legislature passed SB253, which prohibits drivers from using cell phones and other electronic devices to manually dial phone numbers, access the internet, or take photos or videos while driving.

Healthy People Objective: Reduce motor vehicle crash-related deaths per 100,000 population

U.S. Target: 12.4 deaths per 100,000 population
State Target: 8.7 deaths per 100,000 population

Date Indicator Content Last Updated: 10/30/2018

Other Views

The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sun, 15 September 2019 6:55:34 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 13:03:27 MDT