Man says wife saved his life by encouraging him to buckle up

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SALT LAKE CITY — Mandee Cossa's life could be drastically different today, she says, if she didn't constantly ask her husband, Marcos, to buckle up whenever they get in the car.

Speaking at a Zero Fatalities event Tuesday, Cossa and her family partnered with the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Highway Patrol to help announce the kickoff of the Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket campaign.

"You cannot predict the future," Cossa said. "So encourage them to wear their seat belt because you love them"

Col. Daniel Fuhr, superintendent of Utah Highway Patrol, said nearly half of Utah's roadway fatalities in 2014 involved someone not buckling their seat beat.

"People give us a bad rap, saying that we are trying to increase revenues or it's all about stats. It's really not," Fuhr said. "When you go to the family member of an individual and let them know that their loved will never come home, that's our motivation."

Marcos and Mandee Cossa had been married for nearly three years and lived in St. George in January 2000, while Marcos finished attending Southern Utah University.

Marcos Cossa got a ride from a friend to SUU to take a test. He said it was raining and snowing on I-15. Along the way, the vehicle hit ice and rolled off the road.

Both he and the driver were wearing seat belts.

Marcos Cossa said his backpack, which was at his feet in the car, was ejected several hundreds of feet down the road.

"If you land when the car is rolling, my skull could have cracked or I could have become a quadriplegic," he said.

Mandee Cossa, who was student teaching at the time, said she didn't know the extent of her husband's injuries when she was told he had been in an accident.

She arrived at the hospital to find him with just a few cuts on his face and a splint on one finger. The driver broke his arm, Mandee Cossa said.

Marcos Cossa credits his wife with saving his life. In his native Mozambique, it's rare for anyone to wear a seat belt, he said, because they often pack as many people as possible into a vehicle when they travel.

"Even the rich people who own a car don't wear a seat belt," he said.

It has taken the entirety of their marriage, he said, for him to get in the habit of wearing a seat belt.

More than 260 extra troopers will be on the highways looking for unbuckled drivers Wednesday through Sunday, Fuhr said. The first traffic stop for a seat belt violation is a warning, he said.

Contributing: Jed Boal

Chris Larson is a BYU news media major interning with Deseret News. Contact him at


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