Causes of Weather-Related Crashes in Salt Lake County, Utah

Authors: David Call*, Ball State University, Alan W Black, Louisiana State University, Richard Medina, University of Utah
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Climatology and Meteorology, Transportation Geography
Keywords: hazards, weather, risk, transportation, crashes, Utah
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon B3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In 2010, the World Health Organization declared 2011–2020 the “Decade of Action for Road Safety” in response to the enormous toll that roadway crashes take on individuals, communities, and national economies. Over 6.2 million vehicle crashes occurred in the United States in 2015, resulting in around 2.4 million injuries and over 32,000 fatalities. Motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2015 had an economic cost of $836 billion, equal to nearly 5% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

For this study, more than 122,000 crashes occurring in Salt Lake County, Utah, from 2012-2016 were analyzed to see how weather conditions affected the number and type of crashes observed. Approximately 12% of crashes occurred under “adverse weather conditions.” Weather-related crashes were most likely in the winter season, especially months with lots of snow and/or cold. Dry months, especially in summer, had the fewest weather-related crashes. Weather-related crashes, on average, were less severe and more likely to involve property damage. Speed was a much greater factor, and they were also more likely to occur at night or on a weekend. Mapping out crashes also revealed some interesting patterns of occurrence.

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