Comments about ‘In our opinion: As Utah highway fatalities spike, drivers should remember to use caution’

Return to article »

Published: Thursday, June 19 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Thursday, June 19 2014 10:25 a.m. MDT

Comments
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Bob K
Davis, CA

This is probably the only time I will be more conservative than the DN.

I think that parents who don't wear their seatbelts properly, or at all, and do not enforce
the proper wearing by all occupants, are very selfish. How would you like your kids to risk have a dead mother, as unfortunately recently happened, because she did not wear the shoulder belt in front?

Moreover, unbelted drivers can lose control in emergency situations, and perhaps kill occupants of another car they could have missed.

Not wearing belts is stupid.

Harrison Bergeron
Holladay , UT

The term "excessive speed" is a misnomer. It suggests that speed-limits are too high, or that drivers are exceeding speed-limits or that doing so automatically causes accidents.

The term is used as a catch-all in police reports when the exacted cause cannot be determined. If a motorist is going 35 mph in a 65 mph zone and encounters a patch of ice, misuses the brakes, and spins out, the officer would likely report "excessive speed" or "too fast for conditions." When in reality, the cause was the driver's error in using the brakes. One study found that two thirds of accidents related to "excessive speed" were travelling under the speed-limit.

In Denmark a two year study showed raising speed limits reduced both accident rates and related deaths. Here in Utah, against UDOT's partiality, the Legislature ordered a three-year study of two sections of I-15 with 80 mph speed limits. While speed increased, accidents fell with no speed-related fatalities.

Speed doesn't kill. Otherwise, racecar drivers would all die. Air travel would kill. Space travel would be impossible.

Driver error kills, not speed. Policy that recognizes the difference will help us get closer to 'Zero Fatalities.'

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Speed may or may not have been a primary cause in these fatalities, but in my experience along the Wasatch Fronts, speed is way up. I usually will travell about 10 mph over the speed limit, which means 75 mph much of the time, and it's not unusual for me to be the slowest driver, passed by cars going 80 mph+

With longer segments of our Interstates in Utah having 80mph speed limits, that means many drivers will be going 90 mph+, assuming their cars can maintain that speed. My truck cannot go 90, which means there is a speed differential when I'm out in those areas, a complicating factor. Higher speeds require much quicker reaction times.

All other factors being equal, more speed = less survivability.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

"The rate of deaths per 100,000 people has dropped from about 15 to 10 since 1999, a reduction of about 25 percent."

I know its early, but isn't going from 15 to 10 about a 33% reduction?

10CC
Bountiful, UT

About this phenomenon of people not wearing seat belts, I had a fascinating discussion with a teenager about this topic.

I don't know how prevalent this thinking is, I have just one anecdotal data point.

I found out a youngster who would borrow my car would buckle the seat belt and then sit on top of the seat belt - so the car alarms would not annoy him. I told him this was unacceptable, and if you drive my car, you need to wear seat belts.

Then I asked why in the world he made the effort to buckle the seat belt, but not use it. He was reluctant to share his reasoning, but basically he said that driving around with no seat belt is a way to exercise your faith that God will take care of you, if you trust in Him.

Essentially, it was kind of a combination of adrenaline rush (defying known safety practices), and having faith that you'll be OK, if you trust in the Lord.

Like I said, I have no idea how prevalent this thinking is, but it is understandable how kids could arrive at that mindset.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

There are a lot of things Drivers should remember. Seat belts aren't the only one.

As BobK said... "Not wearing belts is stupid". Maybe we should just pass a law that prohibits doing stupid things. Then we would have almost nothing to worry about!

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

Way to go out on a limb with this editorial DNews.

In all seriousness I actually think this is a great time to print something about seat belt usage. I can't remember if it was here or on KSL where I read that deaths related to auto accidents it ahead of last year. Mainly because so many people involved in these accidents weren't wearing their seat belts. I agree with Bob K on this one.

And 2bits, we do pass laws against doing stupid things, when they have the potential to harm others. And if you don't wear your seat belt you are posing a harm to others. If I hit you with my car and you fly through my windshield, your stupid behavior has just put my life in jeopardy. The laws requiring people to wear seat belts are just like the other laws that rule our roads like speed limits, lane changes, which side of the road to drive on. They are all designed to make the roads safe for everyone to drive on.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Wraith,

Then we only need one law... "No doing stupid things". Then we would have nothing to worry about.

That one law would cover not wearing your seat-belt, speeding, stupid lane changes, basically all stupid driving behaviors (in one law). It also covers doing drugs, steeling, assault, child abuse, drunk driving, etc (all outlawed by the above law).

Everything could be covered by this one law!

Problem is... you have to define "stupid" for some people.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

@ 2bits

sigh...

Can you answer some questions for me?

Do you even understand how laws work? Do you understand how our judicial system works? Have you ever actually read a law? Are you really trying to say that we shouldn't have seat belt laws? I am really at a loss as to why you think seat belt laws are a bad thing?

The reason we can't just have a law that says don't do stupid things is because that isn't how the law works.

As far as defining stupid people, well lets just say that's been made easy today.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Wraith,
I was actually trying to be funny. We'll try to find you a sense of humor.

I know how the law works. And I know we can't have one law that says, "It's illegal to do anything stupid". That was the point.

I don't have a problem with seat-belt laws. I don't know where you got that judgement of me, maybe because you have a stereotype-based picture of me already in your mind, and that tells you I must be against them. But I never said that.

I think seat-belt laws are perfectly fine. I believe SOME people don't need them (because they won't do stupid things, even if it's NOT against the law). And I agreed that it was stupid to not use them.

So I have no problem with having these laws for people who can't resist doing stupid things... UNLESS their's a law against it.

These laws don't affect my behavior... so why would I care? But if the prevent others from doing stupid things (who would otherwise do stupid things)... then I'm for them.

SG in SLC
Salt Lake City, UT

2 bits,

I agree with the general philosophy you conveyed in your 2:50 p.m. post (i.e., seat belt laws are fine; it's stupid to not wear seatbelts; laws prohibiting "stupid" behavior that endangers others are fine, too; and such laws tend not to alter the behavior of people whose wisdom and regard for the well-being of themselves and others prevent them from engaging in said "stupid" behavior). A couple of observations, though . . .

Your attempt at humor was clearly and spectacularly unsuccessful (sorry, but a spade is a spade).

Your "humorous" suggestion came across as somewhat patronizing (to me, at least), implying that it would not be dismissed as absurd due to some assumed level of naiveté in the DN Comments forums. I honestly hope that was not your intent; I would be disappointed if it was.

Wraith's misunderstanding of your intent was likely due to your non-sequitur of agreeing with and reinforcing BobK's serious "Not wearing belts is stupid", and then in the same (figurative) breath, facetiously stating that a single "No doing stupid things" law would be a silver bullet solution to all traffic safety problems, among other things.

wrz
Phoenix, AZ

"The Highway Patrol launched what it calls a summer-long safety 'blitz' in reaction to the higher death rates. Rigorous law enforcement is one of the ways the state can help combat highway fatalities."

The Highway Patrol must not have included enforcement of the speed limits in their safety blitz. They never seem to pull speeders over. And speeding is the major cause of deaths on the highways.

It is comical that the emphasis for safety on the highways is the wearing of seat belts. Wearing seat belts does not prevent accidents. Accidents involving damages and death are prevented by obeying traffic laws... staying within the speed limit, avoiding tailgating.

"Half of those who died were not wearing seat belts."

None would likely be dead had they'd been obeying traffic laws such as indicated above. Again, wearing seat belts does not prevent accidents.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

In that case 2bits I owe you a deep and sincere apology. I am sorry that I misunderstood what you were going for. I actually have a great sense of humor, but everyone makes mistakes. I guess that now makes me the stupid one - at least for the time being.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments