While driving, you may have noticed the “Click it or Ticket” billboards encouraging seat belt use. Utah seat belt laws apply to and affect everyone on the road, from drivers to passengers. These laws state that everyone in a vehicle must wear a seat belt. In addition, children younger than 8 years old must be buckled in a car or booster seat. At Christensen & Hymas, we often see the serious harm that can occur in car accidents and hope to help people avoid injuries. This post outlines seat belt laws in Utah and how to follow them.
Seat belts save lives. According to Click It Utah, 100 lives are saved on Utah’s roads each year thanks to seat belts.
Utah Seat Belt Laws: What to Know
The Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Usage Act states that a vehicle’s operator must “wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt.” In addition, each child younger than 8 years old must be in a child restraint device like a car seat. All passengers, regardless of age, must wear a seat belt in the vehicle. The driver is legally responsible for ensuring that all passengers 16 years old or younger are wearing seat belts.
This means that a driver can get a ticket if a young passenger is not wearing a seat belt. If you want to know more about this law, you can access the full text of these Utah seat belt laws by clicking on the Act’s title in the paragraph above.
Why Should I Wear A Seat Belt?
From a legal standpoint, wearing a seat belt will help you escape potential tickets and fines. If you are caught without a seat belt, you could be issued a $45 citation. If the citation was for a child not wearing a seat belt, this fine can be waived if you show proof that you have purchased a child restraint device like a car seat.
Even if it was not legally required, wearing a seat belt would still always be a good idea. Making sure everyone in the car has their seat belt on can save lives. In addition to being injured themselves, unrestrained drivers and passengers can become projectiles in a crash. They can injure and even kill other people in the car. Sadly, Zero Fatalities of Utah reports that 86 people died in 2016 because drivers or other passengers did not wear seat belts.
What Can Happen If I Don’t?
If you are in an accident while not wearing a seat belt, you can be seriously injured. Such injuries have many negative consequences — both physical and financial.
- Cost Increase
Car accidents cost more when those in them are not wearing seat belts. Injuries are more severe, which leads to longer hospital stays and increased medical bills. Wearing a seat belt may not prevent injuries completely, but it can help minimize the damage that injuries do to your body and your pocketbook.
Accidents and injuries can also cause your car insurance premiums to increase.
- Legal Effects
Failure to wear a seat belt can also affect your chances in a personal injury case. If the fact that you were not wearing a seat belt contributed significantly to your injuries, you may not be able to recover as much in your case.
Utah is a comparative negligence state, which means that in order to recover damages in a personal injury case, you must be considered less at fault than the other involved parties. Even if you are found to be less at fault, not wearing a seat belt can cause you to be considered at least partially to blame for your injuries. So, if you are 20% at fault for your injuries, you may only be able to recover 80% of your damages.
Utah Car Accident Attorneys at Christensen & Hymas
Unfortunately, car accidents are a common occurrence. Even if you are following all of the Utah seat belt laws, you can still be seriously injured in an accident. If you are injured in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation in an injury case! At Christensen & Hymas, our car accident attorneys are committed to protecting your rights and helping you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation!
We also offer a free book, 7 Biggest Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Utah Accident Case, if you’d like to know more about how the legal process works. Just click on the title above to order your absolutely free copy today!
Photo by Lee Haywood