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Jed Boal ReportingAs Utahns hit the roads for the holiday state troopers remind everyone that a seatbelt could save your life. But seatbelts also enhance your safety more than you may realize.
Seat belt use in Utah has surged in the last two decades from less than 20-percent to more than 80-percent. But there's one more conclusive reason to buckle up,if you still need convincing.
The Utah Highway Patrol says seatbelts not only save lives, they can help prevent crashes too.
Sgt. Lee Perry took KSL’s Jed Boal through some driving tests to prove the point. As he weaved through cones the seatbelt helped him keep physical control of the car.
Sgt. Steve Perry/Utah Highway Patrol: “Look at race car drivers, look at pilots. They obviously wear seatbelts more for control issues than for safety issues."
The belt keeps the driver from getting pitched around and potentially knocking his head against the window or a passenger.
Sgt. Steve Perry, Utah Highway Patrol: “It holds you so you can keep your hands on the steering wheel and keep your feet on the gas pedal or throttle and adjacent to the brake."
Steering through cones simulates any of a number of kinds of maneuvers you might have to make on the road when you encounter trouble. With a seatbelt on, it's something you can go through at a steady speed and keep your foot on the accelerator and hands on the wheel. With the seatbelt off, it's a different story.
When the UHP trains troopers it shows them how they lose control when they're not buckled in. Most people get the message, but Perry says some recent crashes might have been prevented if the drivers were buckled up.
Utah numbers show 85-percent now say they wear seatbelts. Nearly 60-percent of all people killed in crashes in 2000 were not wearing seatbelts. If everyone buckled up, statistically the number of highway fatalities could be cut in half.