SALT LAKE CITY — Who in Utah is most likely to wear their seat belt? Women in vans in Davis County, according to a survey by the Department of Public Safety.
On the other hand, the Utahns least likely to use seat belts are men driving trucks on rural roads in San Juan County.
The department published its annual survey earlier this month measuring seat belt use around the state, revealing the differences between men and women, as well as urban and rural drivers.
According to the survey — which covered 17 counties in Utah over 12 days in June — 88 percent of Utahns are buckling up, an increase of nearly 1 percentage point from last year's review.
Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Jeff Nigbur praised the high number of seat belt wearers in the state but acknowledged there is still room to improve. While seat belts don't guarantee survival in a crash, Nigbur emphasized that they undoubtedly increase the odds.
"I have personally seen it, on several fatal crashes that I have been on, where if they had just worn a seat belt they would have been alive today," Nigbur said. "The vast majority of the time, they will save your life."
The highest numbers came from urban areas, where 91 percent of surveyed drivers or passengers wore their seat belts. That number goes up to 93 percent for women, and reaches nearly 95 percent if the woman is in a van.
In rural communities, about 83 percent of drivers and passengers used seat belts. Nearly 86 percent of female drivers in those areas wore seat belts, while just over 80 percent of men did.
But seat belt use is increasing in some rural counties, the survey revealed.
Both Carbon and Millard counties showed seat belt increases approaching 15 percent over the previous years, according to the survey.
Nigbur noted that seat belts remain essential, even during short trips or on roads that may not seem busy.
"People seem to think 'I'm just going to the grocery store' or 'I'm just going to run down to the gas station to get gas so I'm not going to wear it.' A lot of crashes actually happen within a close proximity to your home," Nigbur said. "And let's be honest, you never know what's going to happen."
Plus, Nigbur noted, it's required by Utah law.1 comment on this story
The Utah Highway Patrol wrapped up a week of its "Click It or Ticket" campaign on Saturday, aimed at encouraging holiday travelers to buckle up. During that time, troopers gave 870 people a ticket or a warning for not wearing a seat belt.
The campaign will continue through this weekend, Nigbur said.
During the holiday, seven people died in three separate crashes: An autopedestrian accident in Taylorsville killed one man; a collision between a cyclist and pickup truck in Logan; and a head-on crash between two SUVs that killed five people in Iron County.