Data reporting

Data shows that Weber County has the worst drivers in Utah

February 12, 2018

 By SHEILA WANG • Standard-Examiner staff

Every county in Utah can point to its own traffic problems, be it speeding, traffic jams or drunk driving or something else.

But data shows Weber County consistently ranks among the worst in the state in several categories.

Sixteen people died on Weber County roads in 2017 — the fourth highest in the state — according to preliminary data from Utah Zero Fatalities.

Every year, the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) evaluates the road safety of each county by comparing crash rates in 13 categories, including fatal crashes, overall crashes, and speed-related crashes.

Weber County ranked last in safety among all Utah counties in 2016, earning the title three times in the past five years. It ranked the second worst in 2014 and 2015.

Two years ago, Weber was worse than the state average in nine of the 13 categories:

• Fatal crash rate
• Overall crash rate
• Alcohol-related crash rate
• Drug-related crash rate
• Distracted driver crash rate
• Drowsy driver crash rate
• Teen driver crash percentage
• Older driver crash percentage
• Bicyclist crash rate

The state map above shows how Utah counties compared with each other in terms of safety ranking in 2016. Hover or click on the map to get more information. The first number is the total safety score — the lower the number is, the worse county is ranked. The second number is the total number of crashes.

The charts below break down the crashes into main categories.

Note: These graphs are best viewed on desktop.

The column chart on the left shows fatal crashes have been declining from 2008 to 2016 in Weber County. While a preliminary report shows another decline in 2017, that count is from a preliminary report and statistics are not yet final.

In 2016, there were more than 4,400 road crashes — including 17 fatal ones —  in Weber County, the second-highest total crash rates per vehicle miles traveled.

That averages out to about one crash for every 20 residents in Weber County, according to a DPS analysis.

“Bad driving behaviors” such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or distracted driving were among the top factors behind the poor ranking for Weber County, said Gary Mower with the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Weber had the worst rate of drug-related crashes per vehicle mile traveled — 15 percent fatal crashes in Weber County in 2016 involved drug use.

The county had 155 crashes involving alcohol in 2016. Two were fatal.

Additionally, in every 10 crashes on Weber County roads in 2016, at least one was related to distraction, the third-highest rate in the state.

Statewide, road crashes involving teenage drivers have been on the rise in recent years, which have increasingly taken up a high percentage of overall crashes. Weber County — with a relatively young population — has been dealing with its fair share of teen crashes.

In the yellow column charts, teenager crashes stood out as the biggest category in road crashes in Weber County, as more than 1,000 crashes involved drivers between 15-19.

Incidents of this category accounted for almost 1/4 of overall crashes in the county.

Use the search bar in the upper left corner of the graphic above to track the crash records in any Utah county.

Contact Reporter Sheila Wang at 801-625-4252 or swang@standard.net. Follow her on Facebook @JournalistSheilaW or on Twitter @SheilaWang7.