Since the start of 2022, Utah has experienced an influx of car accidents due to vehicles traveling in the wrong direction. More than 40 collisions involving a wrong-way driver have been reported since the start of the year.
In early January, a 12-year-old girl was killed when the vehicle she was traveling in with her mother hit an oncoming semitruck on I-70 in Elsinore.
In late January, a 19-year-old from Herriman died after driving in the wrong direction on Bangerter Highway in West Valley and colliding with a box truck.
Just one month later, a motorcyclist was killed when a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction struck him and several other vehicles on I-15 in North Salt Lake.
A Utah Highway Patrol officer was injured in February when he used his vehicle to stop another vehicle traveling in the wrong direction near downtown on I-15.
The weekend of March 12 saw four car accidents due to a wrong-way driver, resulting in the death of three people.
At around 4:50 a.m., a car entered I-15 from the 600 South off-ramp and collided with a vehicle heading northbound, killing both drivers.
Several hours later, an SUV on State Route 6 crossed over the center line and struck a semi. Both occupants of the SUV were taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Around 11:15 p.m. the same evening, the driver of a vehicle was killed after traveling in the wrong direction on Mountain View Corridor in West Valley and colliding with another vehicle.
In Utah, emergency dispatchers have received approximately 60 calls about wrong-way drivers so far in 2022.
Utah Highway Patrol Maj. Jeff Nigbur told KSL that the “vast majority” of accidents involving a wrong-way driver involves an individual that is “significantly intoxicated.”
300 wrong-way crashes occurred in all of 2021, down from 340 in 2020.
Nigbur also told KSL that despite a small decrease in wrong-way accidents last year, “it’s still a trend that’s alarming.”
Utah highways are already well equipped with signs warning drivers they are entering in the wrong direction. However, the state has installed about 35 thermal imaging cameras at freeway interchanges in Salt Lake, St. George, and northern Utah areas. These cameras can detect when heat from a vehicle is travelling in the wrong direction.