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Complete Health Indicator Report of Seat Belts: Safety Restraint Use


Adult and Front Seat Passenger Safety Belt Use (observational study): Percentage of '''drivers and front seat passengers observed using safety restraints''' in Utah. The survey uses data collected by Utah Highway Patrol Officers at intersections, highway ramps, and parking lots. Seat Belt Use (BRFSS): Number of persons who reported wearing a seat belt always or nearly always Adolescent Seat Belt Use: Students who never or rarely never wore a seat belt


Adult/Front Seat Passenger Use (observational study): Number of drivers and front seat passengers observed using safety restraints. Seat Belt Use (BRFSS): Number of persons who reported wearing a seat belt always or nearly always Adolescent Seat Belt Use: Number of students who never or rarely never wore a seat belt


Adult/Front Seat Passenger: Number of persons observed Seat Belt Use (BRFSS/YRBS): Number of persons surveyed

Data Interpretation Issues

Based on national criteria, 17 counties were selected for the 2018 Utah Safety Belt Observational Survey, a practice that began in 2012 (Utah Safety Belt Observational Survey, August 2013 Report). Previously, only the 6 most populous counties were included.

Why Is This Important?

Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are one of the leading causes of injury death and hospitalization in Utah. '''Seat belts are the single most effective safety device''' for preventing serious injuries and reducing fatalities in MVCs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In Utah, for 2016, an estimated 107 lives were saved because of restraint use and an estimated 40 additional lives would have been saved if everyone had been wearing seat belts. NHTSA has found that '''deaths and serious injuries''' caused by MVCs could be '''reduced by approximately 50 percent''' with proper and consistent use of safety belts. NHTSA also found that if all 50 states achieved 90 percent seat belt usage, it would result in an overall total cost savings of $5.5 billion.^1^ Ejection from the vehicle is one of the most injurious events that can happen to a person in a crash. In Utah, for 2016, unrestrained crash occupants were 240 times more likely to be ejected from a motor vehicle and 24 times more likely to be killed than restrained crash occupants.^2^ [[br]] ---- #NHTSA, [ Traffic Safety Facts] #Utah Crash Summary 2016, Utah Department of Public Safety

Healthy People Objective IVP-15:

Increase use of safety belts
U.S. Target: 92.0 percent
State Target: 92.4 percent

Other Objectives

'''Other Healthy People 2020 objectives:'''[[br]] IVP-16: Increase age-appropriate vehicle restraint system use in children[[br]] *16.1: Aged 0 to 12 months **U.S. Baseline: 86% of children aged 0 to 12 months were restrained in rear-facing child safety seats in 2008 **'''U.S. Target:''' 95% (10% improvement) **Utah Baseline: Ages 0-4: 93.1% child restraint usage (2008 Utah Safety Belt Observational Survey) **'''Utah Target:''' Ages 0-4: 98% child restraint usage (5% improvement - highest was in 2001 at 97.1%)[[br]] [[br]] *16.2: Aged 1 to 3 years **U.S. Baseline: 72% of children aged 1 to 3 years were restrained in front-facing child safety seats in 2008 **'''U.S. Target:''' 79% (10% improvement) **Utah Baseline: Ages 0-4: 93.1% child restraint usage (2008 Utah Safety Belt Observational Survey) **'''Utah Target:''' Ages 0-4: 98% child restraint usage (5% improvement - highest was in 2001 at 97.1%)[[br]] [[br]] *16.3: Aged 4 to 7 years **U.S. Baseline: 43% of children aged 4 to 7 years were restrained in booster seats in 2008 **'''U.S. Target:''' 47% (10% improvement) **Utah Baseline: Ages 5-8: 45.7% booster seat usage in motor vehicle crashes (2008 Utah Crash Summary Report) **'''Utah Target:''' Ages 5-8: 50.2% child restraint usage (10% improvement)

How Are We Doing?

In 2018, the observed seat belt usage was 89.0% overall for the 17 counties included in the study. The 2017 observed seat belt usage rate was 88.8%. In 2018 the 'urban' counties of Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, Washington, and Weber were analyzed separately from the 'rural' counties. The seat belt usage rate for the urban counties was 90% and 88% for the rural counties. The 2016 Utah Crash Summary published by the Department of Public Safety reports percentages of children ages 0-8 using child safety seats. The child safety seat usage for 0-4 year-olds is 85.8%. Of concern is the drastically lower percentage (42.9%) of child safety seat usage among 5-8 year-olds, indicating children are moved to adult-sized seat belts prematurely. For 0-8 year-olds, the usage of child safety seats in 2016 was 68.4%, an increase in usage compared to the previous year (66.8% in 2015).

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

In 2016, the Utah death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 0.91 which was lower than the 2015 U.S. rate of 1.12 (Utah Crash Summary 2016, Utah Department of Public Safety).

What Is Being Done?

The Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) provides funding to the 13 local health departments in Utah to implement motor vehicle safety programs and Safe Kids coalitions/chapters activities. These programs focus on child passenger safety and teen driving. The VIPP partners with the Utah Teen Driving Safety Task Force, Zero Fatalities Program, and Utah Highway Safety Office, among other state and local agencies to prevent motor vehicle crash deaths. For the past eight years, a book has been published that tells the stories of teens who died in motor vehicle-related crashes. The book is distributed to each drivers education instructor in the state as a prevention tool. The books can be downloaded at [] or []. The Utah Department of Transportation Zero Fatalities Program ([]) is an educational campaign aimed at reducing some of the top causes of traffic related deaths in Utah: not buckling up, drowsy driving, impaired driving, distracted driving, and aggressive driving. Effective May 12, 2015, the Utah seat belt law became a '''primary enforcement law'''. Primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt without any other traffic offense taking place. All vehicle occupants must wear seat belts and children ages 8 and younger must be properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat.

Available Services

Call 1-888-DASH-2-DOT or visit [] to locate the certified child passenger safety technician nearest you. Violence and Injury Prevention Program, Utah Department of Health[[br]] 801-538-6141[[br]] [] Safe Kids Utah[[br]] Service provided: child safety seat inspection, booster seat inspection[[br]] 801-538-6852[[br]] [] Zero Fatalities Program[[br]] [] Utah Highway Safety Office[[br]] 801-293-2480[[br]] [] Utah Safety Council[[br]] Service provided: defensive driving course[[br]] 801-262-5400[[br]] [] Intermountain Injury Control Research Center[[br]] 801-585-9157[[br]] [][[br]] [[br]] [[br]] '''NATIONAL WEB SITES:''' Governors Highway Safety Association[[br]] [] National Center for Injury Prevention and Control[[br]] [] National Highway Transportation Safety Administration[[br]] [] Safe Kids USA[[br]] [] Children's Safety Network[[br]] [] U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission[[br]] [] A comprehensive auto safety page with many useful links:[[br]] []

Health Program Information

The Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) is a trusted and comprehensive resource for data related to violence and injury. Through education, this information helps promote partnerships and programs to prevent injuries and improve public health. The VIPP goals are to: #Focus prevention efforts on reducing intentional and unintentional injury #Conduct education aimed at increasing awareness and changing behaviors that contribute to the occurrence of injury #Strengthen local health department capacity to conduct local injury prevention programs #Promote legislation, policy changes, and enforcement that will reduce injury hazards and increase safe behaviors #Collaborate with private and public partners #Improve the Utah Department of Health capacity to collect mortality and morbidity data from multiple sources and conduct injury epidemiology for use in prevention planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Related Indicators

Relevant Population Characteristics

According to 2018 observational surveys of seat belt use, Utah males (86.7%) are less likely than females (91.8%) to wear a seat belt. Seat belt usage rates are higher in urban counties than rural counties. SUV (91.6%) and van (93.4%) occupants had the highest overall seat belt usage.

Related Relevant Population Characteristics Indicators:

Health Care System Factors

Lack of automobile seat belt use is related to hospital emergency room visits and hospital admissions due to motor vehicle crash injuries.

Related Health Care System Factors Indicators:

Health Status Outcomes

Failure to use seat belts increases the risk of motor vehicle crash injury and death.

Related Health Status Outcomes Indicators:

Graphical Data Views

Overall Safety Belt Use Rate: Adult and Front Seat Passenger, Utah, 1990-2018

::chart - missing::

In 2018 the observed seat belt usage was '''89.0%''' overall for all 17 counties.
Seatbelt Study CriteriaYearPercentage of Persons Restrained
Record Count: 29
6 County Study199039.2%
6 County Study199141.9%
6 County Study199250.4%
6 County Study199349.7%
6 County Study199453.2%
6 County Study199555.7%
6 County Study199660.1%
6 County Study199762.9%
6 County Study199866.7%
6 County Study199967.4%
6 County Study200075.7%
6 County Study200177.8%
6 County Study200280.1%
6 County Study200385.2%
6 County Study200485.7%
6 County Study200586.9%
6 County Study200688.6%
6 County Study200786.8%
6 County Study200886.0%
6 County Study200986.1%
6 County Study201089.0%
6 County Study201189.2%
17 County Study201281.9%
17 County Study201382.4%
17 County Study201483.4%
17 County Study201587.2%
17 County Study201687.9%
17 County Study201788.8%
17 County Study201889.0%

Data Notes

Beginning in 2012, the Utah Highway Safety Office began to observe front seat passengers of 17 counties whereas in earlier years observations were conducted in only the six most populous counties.

Data Source

Utah Safety Belt Observational Survey, Utah Highway Safety Office

Percentage of Drivers and Front Seat Passengers Restrained: Six Large-Population and Eleven Small-Population Counties, Utah, 2018

::chart - missing::

Rural counties typically have lower percentages of seat belt usage than the larger urban counties. In 2018, the difference in the overall rate of seat belt usage for urban counties (90%) and rural counties (88%) was minimal.
CountyPercentage of Persons
Record Count: 28
Salt Lake88.8%
Box Elder94.2%
San Juan80.2%

Data Notes

Beginning in 2012 the Utah Department of Public Safety conducted observational surveys in 17 Utah counties.

Data Sources

  • Utah Safety Belt Observational Survey, Utah Highway Safety Office
  • Intermountain Injury Control Research Center

Seat Belts: Use by Sex, 17 Utah Counties, 2018

::chart - missing::

Overall, 91.8% of females were belted compared to 86.7% of males.
SexPercentage of Persons
Record Count: 2

Data Sources

  • Utah Safety Belt Observational Survey, Utah Highway Safety Office
  • Intermountain Injury Control Research Center

Safety Belt Use Rate by Year, Utah Adults, 2010-2018

::chart - missing::
confidence limits

As part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, Utah adults were asked about their seat belt use when driving or riding in a car. In 2018, '''95.0%''' of Utah participants reported that they '''always or nearly always use seat belts'''.
YearAge-adjusted Percentage of AdultsLower LimitUpper Limit
Record Count: 9

Data Notes

Age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 standard population.

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health

Adolescent Seat Belt Use: Percentage of Students Who Never or Rarely Wore a Seat Belt, Utah and U.S., 1991-2017

::chart - missing::
confidence limits

As part of the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, high school students were asked about their seat belt use when riding in a car driven by someone else. Utah teen seat belt use has remained fairly steady since 2001 with nonuse ranging from between 5.6 percent and 9.5 percent. Nationally, teen seat belt use has improved since 2003 and there has been no significant difference between reported Utah and national teen seat belt usage since 2009. Utah's all-time low for teen seat belt non-use occurred in 2003 and 2013 (5.6%) while the national all-time low occurred in 2015 (6.1%).
Utah vs. U.S.YearPercentage of High School StudentsLower LimitUpper LimitNote
Record Count: 27

Data Notes

*Use caution in interpreting; the estimate has a coefficient of variation >30% and is therefore deemed unreliable by Utah Department of Health standards. 2015 YRBS data for Utah are not available. The Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System includes national, state, and local school-based surveys of representative samples of 9th through 12th grade students. These surveys are conducted every two years, usually during the spring semester. The national survey, conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control, provides data representative of high school students in public and private schools in the United States. The state and local surveys, conducted by departments of health and education, provide data representative of public high school students in each state or local school district.

Data Sources

  • Utah Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Utah Department of Health
  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

References and Community Resources

References: * [ NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis, Traffic Safety Facts] ~ Research Note, ''The Increase in Lives Saves, Injuries Prevented, and Cost Savings if Seat Belt Use Rose to at least 90 Percent in All States'', May 2009 (DOT HS 811 140). *State of Utah Department of Public Safety, Utah Highway Safety Office, '''[ 2017 Utah Seat Belt Use Survey Report ]''' *State of Utah Department of Public Safety, Utah Highway Safety Office,''' [ Utah Crash Summary 2016]''' *[ Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data ]

More Resources and Links

Evidence-based community health improvement ideas and interventions may be found at the following sites:

Additional indicator data by state and county may be found on these Websites:

Medical literature can be queried at the PubMed website.

Page Content Updated On 09/30/2019, Published on 11/07/2019
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 06 July 2020 6:07:05 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 7 Nov 2019 10:11:02 MST