Not Buckling Up
Drivers and passengers who wear seat belts are 50 percent more likely to survive a crash than those who are unbuckled. Seat belts save lives. Sadly, 72 unrestrained or improperly restrained motor vehicle occupants died on Utah's roadways in 2011. Based on historical national studies, it is estimated that 50 percent, or 36 people, could have survived if they would have simply buckled up. That's 36 families in 2009 alone who might still have their loved ones if they had worn a seat belt.
Buckle Up in Utah-It's the Law! Utah's Safety Belt Use Law states that drivers and passengers are required to wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety restraint. The law provides for primary enforcement for individuals up to 19 years of age. In addition, children younger than eight must ride in an approved child safety seat or booster seat. For a person 19 years or older, enforcement by an officer is a secondary action when the person has been detained for another offense. This offense could be speeding, driving impaired, texting while driving and transporting an unrestrained passenger who is younger than 19 years old, among other traffic law violations. As a primary law for those under 19 years old and as a secondary law for adults, it means that it is illegal to ride without a seat belt.
Did You Know: Failing to buckle up contributes to more fatalities than any other traffic-safety-related behavior. In 2004, unbelted crash occupants were 31 times more likely to die in a crash than belted crash occupants.
Utah's Safety Belt Use Rate and the Law:
Utah's 2005 Safety Belt Observational Survey showed that 86.9 percent of motorists buckle up. This means that 13.1 percent of Utah's population, or about 313,000 people, still don't wear their seat belts. As efforts to raise seat belt use continue to increase, motorists must remember that Utah's law enforcement officers will issue citations to unbuckled drivers and passengers.
- Always use both the lap and shoulder belt. When worn properly, the shoulder belt should fit across the collar bone and the lap belt should fit low over the hips.
- Never place the shoulder strap under your arm or behind your back.
- The safest place for any child ages 12 and younger is the back seat.
- Infants should ride rear-facing as long as possible and at least until they are 20 pounds AND one year of age.
- Children should be securely fastened in a forward-facing child safety seat once they have outgrown their rear-facing seat until they are about 40 pounds.
- Use belt-positioning booster seats to help position adult-size seat belts for children who have outgrown their toddler safety seat (younger than eight years of age and or less than 4-feet 9-inches inches tall).
- More than 80 percent of child safety seats are used incorrectly. Be sure to read your car seat and vehicle owner's manual and follow all instructions to be sure your child passengers are safe. Also visit Safe Kids Utah to locate or schedule a free car seat check point near you.