Melissa Zelig survived a crash in 2021 and shared how her seat belt saved her life and the lives of the passengers. (Photo: Utah Department of Public Safety)
SALT LAKE CITY — With holiday travel in full swing, the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) are educating Utahns on proper seat belt use and why it’s important.
AAA predicts that 50 million people will be traveling more than 50 miles this holiday. The majority of travelers will be driving, as gas prices are around $3.98 on average in Utah.
UHP Major Jeff Nigbur said, research shows that 91.8 percent of Utahns are buckling up. That’s a four percent increase from last year and the highest usage they’ve seen to date. Troopers saw a decrease in seat belt usage in 2021, so they’re thrilled to see the number going in a positive direction again.
There will be increased seat belt enforcement throughout Utah during the next week. During that time, law enforcement agencies throughout the state will work more than 250 additional shifts to stop and educate motorists who aren’t wearing seat belts.
Melissa Zelig survived a crash in 2021 and shared how her seat belt saved her life and the lives of the passengers.
“My seat belt did what it was supposed to dosays Zelig. “It kept me in place, saving my own life and preventing me from harming others in the car.”
Zelig was traveling with her best friend and family to the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming on July 14, 2021, for a backpacking trip. While en route, a westbound car traveling in the opposite direction at freeway speeds attempted to pass a semi-truck but hit their vehicle head-on.
Troopers report, seat belts are life-saving devices – and the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing injury and death. Not only is it critical to buckle up every time, no matter the distance, it’s equally important to wear that seat belt properly. UHP reminds travelers that seat belts should be placed on the hips and across the collarbone, away from the neck. It should never be worn behind the back or arm, and passengers should never recline their seat or put their feet on the dashboard.
Troopers advise drivers and passengers to wear seat belts properly, and encourage others to do the same. It isn’t just a personal decision; it’s the law.