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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Highway Patrol announced this week that seat belt use is at a five-year low.
The announcement comes as Thanksgiving approaches this week. With more and more people taking to the roads for the holiday, the UHP reminds all drivers to buckle up.
UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden says that 88% of all Utahns buckle up. That number is down slightly from two years ago when 90% of Utahns wore their seat belts.
Over the last five years, Roden says almost half of those killed in automobile accidents were not wearing seat belts.
"Forty-five percent of the people being killed are unrestrained," he said.
Roden says encouragement from family and friends is the most effective way to get individuals to wear their seat belts.
"For people who are pretty hardcore nonusers, the best way to get them to buckle up is to actually have family and loved ones encourage them to wear seat belts," he said.
Roden says that patrols will be increased over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as part of the national 'Click it or Ticket' campaign.
Seat belt use nationally
According to the National Safety Council and National Highway Safety Administration, seat belts have saved 374,276 lives since 1975.
In 2018, National Safety Council, National Highway Safety Administration also reported that 89.6% of drivers and passengers around the country wore seat belts. That saved approximately 15,000 lives.
National data also showed seat belts were used 91% of the time in 2019.
According to Naval Safety Center, more than 75% of the people who are ejected from a vehicle during a crash pass away from their injuries.