ROAD TO ZERO

Carbon County increases patrols, education after seat belt use drops dramatically in latest survey

Jun 3, 2022, 6:16 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 11:59 am

PRICE, Utah — The most recent Utah Seat Belt Use Survey reveals a drop in people buckling up statewide along with a significant decrease in seat belt usage in Carbon County.

The survey has been conducted since 1986 to determine the percentage of people using seat belts in the six most urban counties in the state along with 11 rural counties.

Statewide, the seat belt use rate dropped 2% in 2021 to 88.2% compared to 90.2% in 2019. Because of the pandemic, the survey was not conducted in 2020.

“This marks the first decrease in seat belt use since the implementation of the primary seat belt law in May 2015,” said the report from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office.

The 2021 study was conducted from June 7 through 19 and again from Aug. 24 to 25. During that time, more than 31,000 people were observed either as drivers or passengers.

The report said seat belt use varies across the state with “urban counties as a whole having a seat belt usage rate 3.8% higher than rural counties.”

Of the counties observed, Carbon County saw the biggest decrease in seat belt usage — down nearly 23% from 2019.

The 2019 survey showed Carbon County with nearly 95% of drivers and passengers buckled up. In 2021, the survey put the county’s seat belt use rate at 72%.

“We think part of that could be because of our rural roots where we live and that we have a lot of backcountry roads that are less traveled and maybe people are thinking that they’re OK not to have their seat belts on,” said Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood. “But we want to remind them that accidents do happen on those roads and we’ve had fatalities on those roads.”

Wood said other reasons for the drop in seat belt usage could be drivers used to fewer cars on the road during the pandemic and also an increase in tourism traffic.

“We have a lot of traffic through here so it’s a big push for us,” Wood said about county law enforcement increasing patrols and education about seat belts.

In addition to giving citations and warnings, Wood said the county is also using social media to remind residents to buckle up.

“I’m going to predict — the good people of Carbon County are amazing — it will make a difference,” Wood said. “We’ll see that trend back up.”

In the 2021 survey, Carbon County also had the biggest decrease of any county of males wearing seat belts. Carbon County had 65% of males buckled compared to the state average for males of 86%.

Memorial Day weekend: Six killed, over 2,500 stopped for speeding on Utah’s roads

“We kind of wonder if it’s not the younger males — the 16 to 25 demographic — so those are the people we are targeting,” Wood said. “So we’re taking every opportunity to meet with those folks and talk to them and remind them to get in the good habit of putting on their seat belt.”

With mountain highways and higher speeds, a sergeant with the Utah Highway Patrol’s Region 9, which patrols Carbon County, said seat belts are more important than ever.

“Our shoulders are steep and they’re not very big and at high speeds and unrestrained it sometimes ends tragically,” said Sgt. Chris Pugliese.

Pugliese said it’s disappointing that the survey indicated seat belt usage fell and that the highway patrol is also increasing enforcement and education in Carbon County.

“You don’t want to be one of those people in a crash that is going to regret for the rest of your life that you didn’t ask your friend to buckle up,” he said.

KSL kicks off campaign to raise awareness about 100 Deadliest Days of Summer

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Road to Zero

I-80 lanes closed after crash...
Cary Schwanitz

Crash closes westbound I-80 near Echo Reservoir

The Utah Department of Transportation said the westbound lanes of I-80 near Echo Reservoir south of I-84.
18 days ago
(Clayre Scott)...
Josh Ellis and Shara Park, KSL TV

Woman in wheelchair dead after being hit by cement truck in Logan

A woman died Friday morning after a cement truck hit her as she crossed Logan’s Main Street in a motorized wheelchair, according to police.
1 month ago
A 17-year-old girl, who later died from her injuries, was hit by a pickup truck on Oct. 25 while wa...
Jed Boal

UHP and ER doctor: Motorists, pedestrians need to work together to reduce fatalities

Utah is on pace to set the annual record for the greatest number of fatal auto-pedestrian crashes.
1 month ago
Tomas Fernandez was riding his scooter Tuesday to class at Ensign College when the car hit him whil...
Karah Brackin

Salt Lake man on scooter says driver hit him at a crosswalk and took off

A Salt Lake City man who was injured when a vehicle hit him while riding his scooter is on the road to recovery.
2 months ago
National Teen Driver Safety week is underway. (KSL TV)...
Karah Brackin and Cary Schwanitz, KSL TV

Teen Driver Safety Week focuses on safe driving conversations

A nationwide campaign designed to encourage parents to talk to their teens about the rules of the road is underway.
2 months ago
...
Ayanna Likens

Utah sees rise in auto-pedestrian crashes

An alarming concern on Utah roads — a rise in auto-pedestrian crashes, including three that happened within the last 24 hours.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Carbon County increases patrols, education after seat belt use drops dramatically in latest survey