NewsZero Fatalities


Utah teen credits seat belt with saving her life

Posted at 10:02 AM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 12:23:16-04

It was the end of December, 2020 when 19-year-old Hannah Williams was driving home from the gym on the North Ogden Divide and hit a snowy patch.

Her car went over the edge, landing the length of two football fields below. "And I started flying in the air and so I knew I was going to crash so I braced myself for impact," Hannah says.

When she woke up, she was on the driver's side door, sideways, and still buckled in.

Hannah's mom Holly says, "When the next morning we went to the tow yard and actually saw that car, my knees like gave out and got weak cause I thought how did she survive this?"

The answer? Seat belts. The Zero Fatalities campaign has had a big impact on people's decisions to buckle up in Utah. Only about 10 percent say they don't.

"The thing that's sad though is that the small percentage of people that don't buckle up represent a big portion of people that die on our roads," says Elizabeth McMillan, Communications Director for the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).

Not being buckled is the most common contributing factor to roadway fatalities. Three out of four people ejected during a fatal crash die from their injuries. And, unbuckled passengers can become a projectile and increase the risk of hurting or killing others in the car by 40 percent.

So, why doesn't everyone just "click it"? People have their excuses. "My favorite one is "it's going to wrinkle my clothes." And it makes me laugh, but that's real for somebody to say that. If it's my clothes will be wrinkled or my life will be saved, or somebody else's life will be saved, that should be a much easier decision," says McMillan.

For Hannah and her mom, it's something they've always done, and will keep doing.

"If I was not wearing my seat belt, I would not be sitting here right now," Hannah says.

For more information about the behaviors you can change to stay safe on Utah's roads, please visit: