Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — Starting Tuesday, Utah will have some of the strongest seat belt laws in the nation. Now, an officer can pull a driver over for not wearing a seat belt as a primary offense.
Utah drivers won't have to speed, drive drunk or break any other law for police to pull them over and ticket them for not wearing a seat belt.
Soon, Utahn's will see Davis High School soccer players driving that message home.
Under the three-year pilot program, police officers will issue a warning for the first offense.
For the second offense: a citation.
Drivers can have the fine waived with the completion of an online safety course, however.
"Safety is the first thing when getting in the car always,” Ivan Pechetto, a Davis High soccer player said. "It could be a matter of life or death."
These Davis High soccer players are chasing their dreams, and buckling up is vital to ensuring their safety and ultimately their success.
The players use a public service announcement to communicate their message.
The spot, produced by ThomasARTS for the Utah Highway Safety Office, will show the players running onto the field.
But some will fade away, symbolizing the death of an unbuckled player. The message: "To get to your dream, get there safely."
If he didn't have his seat belt, he probably wouldn't be doing as good as he is right now.
–Landon Kartchner, a Davis High soccer player
"You can't really tell when somebody else is going to make a mistake in a car and hit you, and it's not your fault. I don't want that to hurt my career in soccer which hopefully is going to go far,” Colton Harrison, a Davis High School soccer player said.
Half of the people killed in vehicle crashes on Utah highways are not buckled in.
State surveys show 83 percent of Utahns buckle up.
A recent report by the Utah Foundation forecasts a 10 percent rise in compliance with the new law, which 33 other states already enforce.
The students said a friend was recently injured in a bad crash.
"If he didn't have his seat belt, he probably wouldn't be doing as good as he is right now," said Landon Kartchner, a Davis High soccer player.
So, they know the difference buckling up can make, so does the central figure in the PSA.
His girlfriend lost a close friend in a crash who was not buckled up.
"From that, you just make sure that everyone wears it, no matter what, because you know what the consequences are," Pechetto said.
The PSA's will soon air on English- and Spanish-speaking TV and social media.
"Those little things are lifesavers," Pechetto said. "They could be the smallest things, but save lives."