Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Editorial: UDOT report proves it: Seat belts save lives

Buckle up, hang up, drive safely

First Published Jan 24 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jan 24 2014 01:01 am

Conservative politicians, such as those who hold nearly all the power in the state of Utah, are often heard to stress the importance of personal responsibility over government mandate or assistance. And a recent state report explains how, even in an area where the government is pretty active, the role of personal responsibility is clearly crucial.

Government at all levels can — and should — mandate safer cars, build safer roads with responsible speed limits and set up checkpoints for drunken drivers and red-light scofflaws. But the burden of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our streets and highways rests most heavily on drivers and their day-by-day decisions.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The drivers who have any business behind the wheel of a motor vehicle wear their seat belts. And they insist that all of their passengers do so as well.

They keep their passions in check. They refrain from either talking or texting on their cellphones while on the road. And, of course, they do not drink and drive.

The Utah Department of Transportation the other day released its annual report on traffic fatalities. In 2013, 219 of us died in motor vehicle accidents. That’s more than the 217 who lost their lives the year before, but still a low number compared to past years, as the 2012 toll was the lowest since 1959.

Of those 219 fatalities, 71 of them, roughly a third, were directly linked to failure to wear a seat belt. That’s way more than the 28 deaths blamed on impairment (drunk or otherwise affected), the 50 deaths linked to driving aggressively (road rage) or the 11 fatalities attributed to distracted (cellphone) driving.

The driver safety laws in Utah are sadly lax. A driver cannot be stopped just for failure to wear a seat belt, though he can be ticketed if stopped for some other reason. Texting while driving is illegal, but talking on a phone while driving, despite damning research carried out right here at the University of Utah proving that it can be as bad a drunken driving, is not.

Those weak laws are out of step with most other states and amount to a dereliction of duty by state leaders.

People who are killed or seriously injured in car wrecks place a burden, financial and emotional, on the rest of the state. Pretending otherwise is not responsible governing.

But, laws or no laws, the most important responsibility belongs to the individual.


story continues below
story continues below

So buckle those gol’ durned seat belts. The life you save, as they say, may be your own.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.