SALT LAKE CITY — Seat belts are the single most effective way to survive in a crash, and wearing one is the law in Utah, so enforcement will be increased in advance of predicted heavy summer travel.
Beginning on May 17 through June 6, over 40 law enforcement agencies across the state will work more than 300 overtime shifts to stop and educate motorists who aren't wearing a seat belt.
Utah's Department of Public Safety (DPS) warns Utahns that in a crash, an unbuckled passengers become deadly projectiles, with two options; ejection from the vehicle, or possibly causing injuries to others in the cab because they aren't restrained.
“Our goal as members of law enforcement is to educate. Only 10 percent of Utahns don’t buckle up, but that accounts for about 40 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities that occur. That number could significantly decrease if travelers would simply wear a seat belt,” says DPS Captain Jeff Nigbur.
To bring the importance of wearing seat belts home, DPS invited four friends to share their story at a recent press event. Jacquelyn Judd, Rae McCurdy, Shayne Brock and Jasmin Roe were traveling to catch a flight when driver McCurdy tried to avoid hitting an animal in the road. The vehicle swerved, rolled several times, and ejected two of the three unbuckled passengers, causing injuries that required several surgeries and months of recovery.
“We hadn’t even gotten on the highway yet, that’s why we weren’t buckled,” said Judd. She said she now realizes that crashes can happen at any time, no matter the distance traveled, so wearing a seat belt is crucial.
Along with increased seat belt enforcement, Utahns will see billboards and digital ads encouraging seat belt safety DPS releases another phase of their award-winning Buckleface campaign.