Statistics suggest that a correctly worn seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%. It only improves as you move back in the vehicle with those riding in the rear at a 73% decrease in fatalities when the seat belt is used. These statistics have encouraged states to implement seatbelt laws, including here in Utah. Here is a breakdown of seatbelt laws in Utah.
Up until May 2015, there was something called a “secondary law” requiring Utah citizens to wear a seatbelt. That meant that officers could issue a citation for a driver or passenger without a seatbelt, but only if the vehicle had already been pulled over for a separate violation (speeding, improper turn signal, defective lights, etc.). In May 2015 the Utah seatbelt laws changed. Driving or riding without a proper seat belt is now a “primary law”, giving police officers the right to pull over and cite people for not having their seatbelt on correctly, without the need of an accompanying violation.
The current law allows for a warning to be given in place of a citation for the first violation of seatbelt laws in Utah. That warning is up to the officer’s discretion and is in place of $45.00 fine. On the second offense a $45.00 citation is issued, however, the fine can be waived if the offender completes an online, 30-minute safety course. For a complete description of the law visit Title 41 Chapter 6a Part 18 Section 1803 of the Utah Code.
In order to raise awareness and encourage people to obey Utah seatbelt laws, each year the Utah Highway Patrol runs the “Click It Or Ticket” campaign. They sponsor television, radio, internet and print advertisements explaining the statistics behind wearing a seat belt, detailing the consequences of not wearing a seatbelt, and generally encouraging an increase in correct seat belt use in Utah.
The bottom line is that seatbelt laws in Utah are there to protect lives. Unfortunately, many people in our state still don’t wear seatbelts, putting their lives and the lives of those in their vehicle at risk. If you or a loved one has been the victim of injury or death in an auto accident, get the help you deserve. Call the experienced attorneys at Craig Swapp & Associates at 800-404-9000 or fill out the online form below.