Since the implementation of the seatbelt law on May 12, approximately 6,000 people have been pulled over for breaking the new law. 885 of those stopped were cited and fined. And while the numbers show that seatbelts are effective at saving lives, Jack Bennett, a Utah resident, doesn’t think people should be forced to wear a safety belt while driving or riding in a vehicle.
“I think people should be able to make their own decisions whether they want to wear them or not,” Bennett Said. “But it’s the law so you gotta go with what the law is.”
Roxanne Saxton is also a Utah resident.
“I agree with it totally,” Saxton said. “I just remember my sister-in-law’s aunt was thrown out and killed where the rest of them had seatbelts on and they all lived.”
“We’ve lost 132 people on Utah roads already this year,” said John Gleason. He’s the public information officer for the Utah Department of Transportation.
“About half of the vehicle fatalities are a result of people not wearing their seatbelts, not buckling up,” Gleason said. “And so it is the number one thing that you can do to protect yourself in a crash.”
Gleason said 83 percent of Utah drivers currently wear seatbelts.
“That means 17 percent of people that are not buckling up of the population are making up nearly 50 percent of our traffic fatalities,” Gleason said. “That’s a shockingly disproportionate number and that’s something that needs to change.”
Todd Royce is a sergeant with the Utah Highway Patrol
“The way that the law is, the first time you get pulled over for not wearing your seatbelt it’s a warning,” Royce said. “The second time it is a hard citation with a fine. We feel that it is working. So, we see a lot more troopers stopping more cars for seatbelts and educating the public on the danger of not wearing a seatbelt.”
A year ago, during the Fourth of July holiday there were three separate accidents in Utah. The 10 people who died were not wearing seatbelts. Royce says this past Fourth of July weekend - there were zero fatalities.
“Seatbelts do save lives,” Royce said. “We see it all of the time.”
Brady and Jana Rae Blaser are from Washington state and are visiting his father here in Logan.
“That’s a good law,” Brady Blaser said. “We have it in Washington state and we wear them all of the time. You should talk to that guy over there – he just got beeped. My truck beeped because he didn’t have his seatbelt on in the front. He had to put it on - his five year old grandson clicked him in.”