More Utah drivers than ever are buckling up, a new Utah Highway Patrol survey shows.
Kristy Rigby, occupant protection program manager, said Monday that the study revealed that 82.4 percent of drivers this year indicated they are using their seat belts regularly, up from 81.9 percent in 2012.
That translates to an increase of 14,263 more Utah motorists buckling up in 2013 than the year prior. UHP estimates that of those "new restraint users," 629 will be involved in a crash this year that might prove fatal, had they not decided to use their seat belts.
Seat belts reduce the risk of injury and death by 70 percent, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims.
"As the seat belt usage rate increases, it means more Utahns will survive crashes and families won’t be torn apart by these preventable tragedies," Rigby said. "Our challenge is to encourage those who continue to put their lives at risk to buckle up."
The 2013 study was conducted in June in 17 counties. During the survey, 26,123 drivers and front seat passengers were observed.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.