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Seat Belt Laws in Utah

Utah Seat Belt Laws require all vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt. Additionally, children under the age of 8 must ride in a booster/car seat appropriate for their age, weight, and height. By Utah law, the driver of the vehicle is responsible to ensure all occupants in their vehicle are properly restrained by a seatbelt. Vehicle occupants 17 and older fall out of the driver’s scope of responsibility. In other words, drivers are only responsible for passengers under the age of 17. If a young passenger isn’t wearing their seatbelt, law enforcement may issue a ticket to the driver of the vehicle. Law enforcement can issue tickets to drivers for unbuckled passengers under 17; even if the passenger unbuckled without the driver’s knowledge. 

As of May 12, 2015, Utah seat belt laws enabled law enforcement officers to pull over any vehicle for seat belt violations. In the past, seat belt violations stood as a secondary offense. Meaning, officers needed to witness another driving violation before they could pull you over. 

What Could Happen to My Insurance Claim if I don’t Wear a Seatbelt?

If you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision, you increase the severity and likelihood of injury. Those involved in a car accident when not wearing a seatbelt face more costs as your insurance premiums will rise. Furthermore, you will have more severe injuries resulting in higher medical bills than those who wore a seatbelt. 

Legal Consequences

If you fail to wear a seatbelt and you are involved in a car accident, your chance of a successful personal injury claim decreases. If your injuries were worsened from your failure to wear a seatbelt, you may lose your settlement due to comparative fault policies in Utah.

What is Comparative Fault?

Comparative fault evaluates and designates a percentage of fault to the parties involved in a car accident. If you are found to be 30% at fault for your injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt, you can only receive 70% compensation, i.e. if the insurance company offers you $20,000 in a settlement, you can only receive $14,000. You cannot recover the remaining $6,000 due to your percentage of fault. 

5 Important Things to Know About Utah Seat Belt Laws:

  1. Utah seat belt laws are primary enforcement laws
    1. Primary enforcement laws allow law enforcement to pull you over and ticket you for this violation. 
  2. Drivers are responsible for unrestrained passengers up to the age of 16. 
  3. Children up to the age of 8 must be in a child safety restraint seats
  4. Exceptions to Utah seat belt laws
    1. Utah’s Seat Belt Laws do not apply to motor vehicles manufactured before July 1, 1966. Additionally, passengers on school buses and public transport are exempt from this law.  
    2. With a written statement from a licensed doctor physician, people with medical reasons or physical restrictions may not be subject to Utah’s seatbelt law. However, they must have a statement explaining why they cannot comply with the seatbelt laws.
  5. Failure to wear safety belts and comparative fault in Utah
    1. Failing to wear a seatbelt in a car accident results in some of the fault for your injuries falling upon you. The state of Utah follows comparative fault regulations. Therefore, if you chose not to wear a seatbelt, your settlement will be reduced by the percentage of fault the court or insurance company assigns to you for not wearing your seatbelt. 

What are the Benefits of Wearing a Seatbelt?

Seat belts reduce the risk of serious injury, fatality, and ejection from the vehicle. More specifically, seat belts reduce your risk of serious injury by 50 percent, and risk of fatality by 45 percent. Furthermore, those who don’t wear a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from the vehicle upon collision. 

Were you or someone you know involved in a recent auto accident? Call Auto Accident Care Network now at 801-683-1948 to connect with a live care advocate. Our team at AACN can connect you to trusted attorneys and doctors to schedule a free legal consultation, a free thirty-minute massage, and a no-cost medical exam

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