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Experts say the way you wear your seat belt as crucial as decision to buckle up

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Posted at 7:26 PM, Jul 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-02 00:34:55-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- It was the deadliest holiday weekend on Utah roads last year, as Independence Day travels took the lives of 10 people.

We hear the message time and time again: Seat belts save lives. But the group Zero Fatalities is stressing that the way you wear your seat belt is key.

“It's all about proper fit; we want to make sure the seat belt is on our hip bones and on our shoulder bones because if in the event in the crash--those are the bones that can handle the pressure,” said Stacy Johnson with the group of Zero Fatalities.

Johnson said there are a lot of classic and deadly mistakes people make while on long drives. One is when the passenger leans back their seat. She said doing so makes the chair into a launching pad.

She also warns against putting the belt behind your back or under your arm. And sitting the right way is key.

“How often do we see the situation where people are putting up their feet on the dash? Now imagine if you were in a crash with your feet on the dash and add an airbag to that situation,” Johnson said.

Last year in Utah, 72 fatalities involved people either not buckling up or wearing the seat belt incorrectly.

“It's horrible because ultimately we have to find where they live, find family, actually sit down with their family, tell them what happened and that their loved one is not coming home; it's not fun, and it's frustrating over such a simple thing,” said Lt. Jeff Nigbur with Utah Highway Patrol.