UHP reminds the public of seatbelt safety ahead of holiday travel

Nov 16, 2023, 3:10 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm

FILE — A seat belt for the right front passenger seat is shown in a vehicle on Monday, Aug. 21, ...

FILE — A seat belt for the right front passenger seat is shown in a vehicle on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. The Department of Transportation is proposing new rules designed to encourage seat belt use by car and truck passengers, including those sitting in the back seat. The new rules proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would require manufacturers to equip vehicles with additional seat belt warning systems for the right front passenger and for rear seats to encourage increased seat belt use. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

(AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

MURRAY — With the holidays and holiday travel right around the corner, road safety is top of mind.

Starting next week, Utah’s Department of Public Safety and Highway Patrol will be working more than a hundred more shifts to drive a message of safety home. 

They want to see friends and family get where they are going safely.  A lot of that starts by wearing a seatbelt.

Back in April 2022, Colton East lost some close friends.

Rollover crash kills 2 Utah teens, seriously injures 3 others

“It’s just every time I get in the car, you know, whether it’s my family, my friends, anyone, I make sure everyone’s wearing their seat belt,” East said. 

East’s close friend, Gage, Gage’s cousin River, and three friends were traveling in Box Elder County when they crashed and rolled several times. 

No one in the car was wearing a seat belt. Gage and River were ejected and killed. 

East said he and Gage spent lots of time on the ice together playing hockey.

“He was just a big presence in the locker room, especially during high school. He was our captain. I was assistant captain, so it was just great working with him,” East said.

DPS and UHP will be doubling down on their efforts for seatbelt safety November 22 – 26 as law enforcement agencies throughout the state will work more than 120 additional shifts to stop and educate drivers who are not buckled up.

Taking the two seconds to buckle up can make all the difference.

“It’s just been devastating. There’s no words to describe it,” East said.

UHP said this year, numbers show more people are buckling up. 

This year alone, they said they have seen 92.4 percent in surveys of people that will wear seatbelts.

That is up from 2021 when surveys showed 88.2 percent.

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UHP reminds the public of seatbelt safety ahead of holiday travel