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UHP says seat belts could have saved lives during deadly Pioneer Day weekend

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Posted at 8:36 PM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 22:36:08-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Highway Patrol and The Utah Department of Transportation say Pioneer Day weekend was one of the deadliest weekends of 2016, as seven fatalities were confirmed on state roads.

That's compared to one fatality during the holiday weekend last year, according to UDOT spokesman John Gleason. However, in 2014, there were also seven deaths. He said it was an anomaly.

"Pioneer Day is not typically a holiday where we would see a lot of fatals," Gleason said. "A lot of people don't even have it off. So that number of deaths on that weekend is staggering."

Lt. Jeff Nigbur of UHP said the deaths during the weekend largely related to speed and lack of seat belts.

"You walk up to that car and you go, 'Oh my gosh, if they would have taken two or three seconds to buckle in, they'd be alive right now,'" Nigbur said. "And it's a travesty. It really is."

Utah Highway Patrol provided year-to-date fatality totals for 2016, 2015 and 2014. Each year also notes the total number of deaths that occurred between the start of the "100 Deadliest Days" and the year-to-date. The 100 Deadliest Days is the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

2016
Jan 1 - Jul 26: 154 fatalities
May 27 - Jul 26 (100 deadliest days): 60 fatalities

2015
Jan 1 - Jul 26: 152 fatalities
May 22 - Jul 26 (100 deadliest days): 65 fatalities

2014
Jan 1 - Jul 26: 148 fatalities
May 23 - Jul 26 (100 deadliest days): 75 fatalities