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Motor Vehicle Safety

Motor vehicle crashes take a terrible toll on Utah families and communities and are a leading cause of injury-related death for Utahns. According to the Utah Highway Safety Office, in 2010 there were 49,368 motor vehicle crashes in Utah, resulting in 21,675 injured persons and 253 deaths. A crash occurs in Utah every 10 minutes, a person is injured in a crash every 24 minutes, and a person dies in a crash every 34 hours (2010 Utah Crash Summary Report).

Teen Driving

Teenagers are especially at risk of being in a motor vehicle crash. Drivers aged 15-19 had the highest crash rates per licensed driver in 2010 (2010 Utah Crash Summary Report). Teenage drivers represented 8% of the licensed drivers in Utah in 2010, yet they were in nearly one-fourth (21%) of all crashes. Teens were 1.7 times more likely to be in a crash than drivers of other ages (2010 Crash Summary Report).

Read more about teen driving safety efforts in Utah...

Child Passenger Safety

Every day, Utah emergency room staff treat an average of three children under age nine for injuries due to motor vehicle crashes: that’s nearly 1,100 children per year. Many are hurt because they aren’t properly buckled into a car seat or booster seat. Car seats reduce the chance of an infant being killed in a crash by 71% and the risk of a toddler being killed by 54%. Kids in booster seats are also less likely to be killed (54%) or injured (59%) than those who are restrained only by seat belts (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration).

Read more about child passenger safety in Utah...

Read more about Safe Kids Utah...

Prevention

Despite the enormous toll motor vehicle crashes have, progress is being made. The year 2010 had the second lowest deaths from motor vehicle crashes in Utah since 1974. And, although teen drivers have the highest crash rates of any drivers, teen driver crashes have decreased over the last ten years (2010 Crash Summary Report).

When crashes do occur, there is overwhelming evidence that using seat belts and child passenger safety seats reduces the risk of injuries and death. In Utah, people who were unrestrained were 31 times more likely to die in a crash than those who restrained (2010 Crash Summary Report). An estimated 109 lives were saved because of restraint use (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

Utah law requires all children under the age of 19 to be properly restrained in a motor vehicle. While adults are also required by law to wear seat belts, enforcement is "secondary " meaning officers can only cite unbelted drivers if they are pulled over for another, unrelated traffic violation.

Since Utah's GDL law was passed in 1999, there has been a 61% decrease in the rate of teens killed in motor vehicle crashes! Prevention and education efforts by groups such as the Utah Teen Driving Task Force and Safe Kids Utah have led to a 42% drop in the rate of teen motor vehicle deaths in Utah since 2007, when the Task Force was created.