Seatbelt Usage in Utah
Utah first enacted a seatbelt law in April 1986. It did not become a primary enforcement state until May of 2015. Because it was such a recent change, not much data is available to determine how this change has impacted traffic fatalities or other information.
A primary enforcement state means that a person can be stopped by law enforcement just for not wearing a seatbelt. They do not need to be breaking any other laws. The seatbelt law is applicable to people who are 16 years old and up in all seats. Violators may be subject to a fine up to $45 for a first offense.
Utah has a child safety seat law as well for children. This law pertains to those who are seven years old and younger, requiring them to be kept in a child restraint seat. Violations of this law may lead to the same fine as the seatbelt law.
The state had a seatbelt usage rate of 82 percent in 2012, which was slightly lower than the national average of 86 percent. Interestingly enough, it also has a slightly lower traffic fatality rate at 9.2 per 100,000 population. This compares to the US average of 10.9 for 2015.
The rate of usage has been declining. In 2007, it was 86.8 percent, before moving up slightly to its highest point of 89.2 percent in 2011. After this point, the rate dropped dramatically to 81.9 percent the following year. It has been increasing slightly after this point and was at 83.4 percent in 2014.
Utah is part of the West region, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The West has the highest rate of usage at 95.0 percent, which is well above second place. This spot goes to the South at 89.2 percent.