Utah Highway Patrol takes part in multi-state seat belt safety campaign

Utah Highway Patrol vehicle. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Nancy Van Valkenburg

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 1, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Highway Patrol is taking part in a multi-state campaign to promote seat belt safety.

State transportation and law enforcement agencies from Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming are coming together to remind travelers to fasten their seat belts, said a news release from UHP.

The “State2State Buckle Up” campaign warns both drivers and passengers to stay buckled no matter what state they are in or how far they are traveling. The campaign coincides with the national “Click It Or Ticket” seat belt enforcement period, which began May 24.

“UHP will alert travelers on social media and on digital highway signs on the importance of buckling up,” the news release said. “Between 2017 and 2020, there were 78 deaths on Utah highways involving unbuckled people traveling from another state. The Utah Highway Safety Office reports that 75% of out-of-state fatalities were unbuckled in 2020, a 32% increase compared to the previous year.”

Utah’s current seat belt use rate is 90.2%, near the national average of 90%. To help make Utah’s roads a safer place, the Utah Highway Patrol encourages all drivers and passengers to do their part and buckle up no matter what state they call home.

“As the summer travel season continues, we are going to see more visitors from neighboring states coming to Utah,” said UHP Colonel Michael Rapich. “We want those travelers to arrive safe so they don’t miss anything our amazing state has to offer. Buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to prevent injury or death in a crash.”

Colorado State Patrol Colonel Matthew Packard added: “We see the consequences of people failing to make that choice to buckle their seat belt every day. Our troopers are responding to horrific crashes that could have simply been prevented by just putting on your seat belt. It takes two seconds of your time to make a lifetime of difference, buckle up. Seat belts reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by 50%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”

High-visibility seat belt enforcement is necessary 24 hours a day, but nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants. In 2019, 55% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night, between 6 p.m.–5:59 a.m., were not wearing their seat belts.

In 2019, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. To help prevent crash fatalities, UHP is increasing seat belt enforcement day and night.

Learn more about the “Click It or Ticket” mobilization here.


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