Police warn against distracted driving as St. George on track to set new record for crashes

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ST. GEORGE, Utah - Police in southern Utah are asking drivers to keep their eyes and minds on the road. The city is on track to set a new record for crashes this year, and officers say many could be avoided.

St. George Police reports more than 1,830 crashes already in 2015, that’s compared to 2,000 in all of 2014. Sergeant Craig Harding said the majority of them fall under one category: distracted driving.

“Following too close, failure to yield, and lane travel are the top three reasons we have crashes in St. George,” Harding said. “Following too close is probably 50 to 60 percent of the crashes we see in the downtown area.”

That was the case Thursday when two rear-end accidents happened within an hour of each other. Harding said the drivers told police they just looked away for a second. The city has done several campaigns to target phone use, but drivers agree it goes beyond electronic devices.

“I thinks sometimes it's even reaching down for something else and probably we shouldn’t,” said St. George resident Marie Wilkes. “[We should] stop before we do the activity we think we can do while we’re driving.”

Harding said there’s not one solution, as distractions are such a large part of our culture, but a large part of the solution is a return to driving basics.

“We need to focus our brain,” Harding said. “We need to scan, look at each of the mirrors, we look at the car coming out of the driveway… is he going to come in my lane?”

Luckily for the drivers in Thursday’s crashes, there were no serious injuries.