Common cause of crashes strikes again on Sunset Boulevard

Black Dodge pickup truck and orange Honda passenger car collide at West Sunset Boulevard and North Dixie Driver intersection Sunday, St. George, Utah, Oct. 1, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Traffic came to a standstill Sunday after two vehicles collided at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Dixie Drive when a driver failed to yield during a left turn, one of the most common causes of collisions.

St. George Fire Department and Gold Cross Ambulance respond to two-vehicle crash at the intersection of West Sunset Boulevard and North Dixie Driver Sunday, St. George, Utah, Oct. 1, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly after 11 a.m. officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to the incident at the intersection of West Sunset Boulevard and North Dixie Downs Road involving a black Dodge pickup truck and a burnt orange Honda four-door passenger car.

The driver of the eastbound Honda was in the turn lane waiting to turn left onto Dixie Drive to head north while the driver of the pickup was heading west on Sunset Boulevard in the outside lane, St. George Police Lt. Jeff Bahlmann said.

The vehicle traveling just ahead of the Honda made the turn without incident.

Just as the driver of the Honda started into the turn, it struck the pickup truck, sending both vehicles spinning in the roadway.

Minor injuries were reported, Bahlmann said, but no one was transported to the hospital.

Both westbound lanes of traffic on Sunset Boulevard were diverted to allow responders to tend to the scene. The two vehicles were rendered inoperable after the crash and later towed from the scene.

Crashes then and now

The first automobile fatality occurred in Ireland in 1869, when a scientist, Mary Ward, was thrown from her steam-powered vehicle while turning a sharp corner and was killed when one of the wheels struck her in the neck, according to information obtained from

That crash seemed to have triggered the awareness and need for vehicle and road safety to protect both those inside of the vehicle and pedestrians.

The first automobile accident in the United States was reported in Ohio City, Ohio in 1891, when engineer James Lambert was driving a gasoline-powered buggy that he invented hit a tree root sticking up from the ground, causing him to lose control of the car before crashing into a hitching post.

In 1922 the first hydraulic brakes were introduced, and eight years later safety glass became a fixture on all Ford models in 1930, followed that same year by the development of seat belts and padded dashboards.  Then, in 1958, a Volvo engineer invented a three-point lap and shoulder seat belt, a device that became a standard apparatus on all Volvo cars in 1959.

20 years later, the National Transportation Safety Board was created, later on known as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that in 1979 began crash testing cars and making the information available to the public.

However, General Motors is said to have performed the first barrier crash test in 1934.

The first law requiring that all passenger vehicles come equipped with seat belts was passed in 1984 in the state of New York.

On an average, there are more than 6 million car accidents on the nation’s roads each year, injuring three million people. The United States has seen a 31 percent reduction in its motor vehicle death rate per capita over the past 13 years. However, the United States ranks the lowest at reducing the fatality rate when compared to 19 other wealthy countries where deaths have declined by more than 50 percent during the same period, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In Utah, there was a crash every eight minutes in 2016, and someone was injured in a crash every 20 minutes. With AAA estimating that Americans spend 17,600 minutes driving each year, the numbers add up to drivers facing a high risk of being involved in a crash, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

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  • Dolly October 1, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Cody, thanks for adding the interesting stats. It seems those crashes in Utah every 8 minutes must be here in Washington County!

  • utahdiablo October 1, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Yep, the open book drivers license tests do wonders too…how long do you have, after a dedicated left turn light turns red, to continue to travel….seems like forever as these stupid southern Utah drivers just keep running through the lights long after they have turned red…..maybe they are southern California transplants?

  • Kilroywashere October 2, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Actually, pointing out CA transplants is a lame excuse and atypical response of local perception. . It’s UTAH drivers on cell phones. Distracted driving, rural driving, etc. As a former safety director at one time, the driving here is bad. DRIVE DEFENSIVELY, AVOID TAILGATERS (not uncommon), watch for illegal left turns at intersections, and park in back of parking lots near exit. Assume in residential areas stop signs are ignored. I could go on, but this town doesn’t take it seriously. I know this first hand. Buy a dash cam! Further, you may want to consider local ambulance insurance. Some of us KNOW what it is like to have a near death experience. Facts are, that driving is where most likely our lives can be cut short. Well, expect the same story next month or next week. Human beings don’t change until it is beyond obvious. Egos are hard as iron.

    • mctrialsguy October 2, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks, St. George now appears to be the T-Bone Crash capital in the west! Amazing how many stupid people drive here. Everyone is in a big hurry, can’t look around, can’t slow down, can’t slow down when the light turns yellow or can’t comprehend when the light may turn Red, and can’t stay off of their phones. People drive like zombies here, just strange!!!

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