New seat belt law now in effect draws mixed reaction from Utah motorists

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Highway Patrol troopers showed they weren’t afraid to stop motorists for breaking a new primary seat belt law, which went into effect Tuesday.

One car after another was stopped all because the driver wasn't buckled up. Before May 12 motorists could be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt if they were being pulled over for other violations. The new law makes not buckling up a primary offense.

On Tuesday, some drivers learned about the new law the hard way by getting pulled over. Despite getting stopped, some motorists say the law will help save lives.

"I think the seat belt law is great. I think it promotes safety and unfortunately I wasn't wearing mine, so kind of stupidity on my part. I think seat belts save lives," said Travis Armitstead of Pleasant Grove.

But some think otherwise.

"I think it's just big government trying to be a nanny," said Steven Palmer.

Palmer argues the law won't change his driving habits.

"Not that I'm going to change the way I drive or whether I'm going to wear my seat belt on a certain day for a certain time," Palmer said.

But law enforcement says they know first-hand wearing a seat belt does make a difference.

According to Utah Department of Transportation more than half a million Utahns are still not buckling up and many hope this law changes that.

The first time someone is stopped for violated the new law, they get a warning. The second time, motorists could face a $45 fine, which can be waived by taking a 30-minute online safety course.


  • Earl

    Wait until the fines get up to the $138 per violation like here in Florida they will put on their seat belts. They will also learn quickly that putting on a seat belt isn’t a big thing and it truly does save lives. Went through the same thing many, many years ago in Florida and it is second nature to most and all agree it saves lives.

  • bob

    Adults should be able to make their own choices, as long as there are no children in the car who can be injured when your body bounces around in there. If you don’t even own your own MEAT you cannot pretend to be “free.”

    Now they want a helmet law. I always wear one when I ride, but by no stretch of the imagination would I be endangering anyone except MYSELF without one, and is MY choice.

    I’m sick and tired of paying the government to babysit me. It’ll take a while, but we WILL pay the prices, eventually, for encouraging stupid people to stay alive and breed more stupid people. Let the idiots die. There will always be idiots, but freedom is irreplaceable.

    • dylanscontent

      You do understand that other people’s stupidity costs you money, right? Are you saying you’d rather pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to care for an idiot who didn’t wear his seatbelt and is now a vegetable? How hard is it really to buckle your seatbelt? If you HAVE children, then not buckling up IS endangering them, whether they are riding with you or not. What happens to the kids when they lose their parent? “Oh it’s no big deal, he didn’t want to wear his seatbelt and we’re okay with the choice he made.”

      • jdg

        This is the most inane, absurd argument liberals always throw out. It costs money when people don’t eat healthy. Should we restrict how much pizza you can eat, or mandate compulsory exercise? People fall and break their necks taking stairs, let’s ticket people who don’t use the elevator. Elevators save lives.

        “There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.”
        — President James Madison

  • John

    It seems that the police would have better things to do then give tickets for not wearing a seat belt. Seems to me that this is also an excuse for them to check your papers and run your name. Next thing you know they’ll require you to give a DNA sample. We move ever closer to a police state.


      Paranoia much John? I assume that you realize they could already pull you over for a faulty tail light and then give you a ticket for not wearing a seat belt when it was already a secondary law?

  • John Smith

    This is just another way to extort money from citizens. This is nothing more than a nanny state trying to legislate safety to get money. Papers Please!!!!!! My choice to wear a seat belt or not doesn’t affect anyone but myself. Utah has now crossed the line into despotism all in the name of safety. I would rather die in an accident than rack up huge medical bills and put my family in the poor house. Lives are saved by wearing a seat belt no doubt, but why does there need to be a law and threats of fines and possible jail time if one can’t pay the fines all because they make a certain choice? That is textbook fascism and despotism, taking away freedom of choice. What they don’t tell you is how many people’s lives are destroyed by the huge, outrageous medical bills that follow a major accident and the lawsuits trying to get money to cover it all. Maybe someone is better off dying than living…..Life insurance companies don’t have to make death payouts when someone lives in the aftermath. I will put my trust in God, not in a seat belt. And when my time is up on this earth, I will be going home no matter how many seat belts I have on.


      Are you really that immature John Smith? What happens if you don’t die but end up like a vegetable? That’s right John, somebody has to pay the bill. Ever see someone with a brain injury John? The lucky ones get a slobber towel because they can’t control their drooling.


        Intelligent adults play the “what if” game before doing something really stupid. “Some of us learn from other people’s mistakes and the rest of us have to be the other people.”- Zig Ziglar

  • Nathan2B

    I think the people that can’t or won’t use seat-belts need to lose their Driving Privileges. I for 1 won’t put my car in gear until everybody in the Vehicle has their seat belt on. Grow up people I read a story on another news site that there was an accident where someone wasn’t belted in and went through the Windshield and Hit and Killed a person. So the choice to not wear a seat belt can affect others. Grow up and act like an ADULT People

    • Pedro

      Yeah people! Lets all just grow up and be adults here. Lets mandate that we all be bubble wrapped prior to leaving the house, and mandate a set calorie intake, and get rid of anything sharp or dangerous in anyway. We have the ability to make everything 100% safe so no one will ever get hurt, so why aren’t we doing everything we can to achieve this. Everyone just needs to grow up and be coddled. We can hire safety police to go around and check/enforce all of this. You stupid bunch of children! You don’t know what is good for you! Grow up and let the government take care of you!

      • Nathan2B

        I will make an exception in your Case, if you want to risk your own life go right ahead and take yourself out of the Breeding pool by not wearing a seat belt, Just let us all know where you are at when you drive so we can avoid where you are at so we don’t risk ourselves with your Flying body.

      • C'MON PEDRO

        Some people are smart enough to wear helmets when they ride motorcycles, and wear seat belts when the drive cars.
        Some people are vegetables in long term care facilities because they were too stupid to learn from the mistakes of others.

      • Pedro

        Some people have massive heart attacks from eating fatty food and end up needing long term care. Should we police fat intake?

      • Nathan2B

        I will stay in my Bubble Wrap because at least that way I know I will be around to see my Daughter Graduate High School and Get to be around for my Grand kids

  • barney

    Is this just another excuse for the police to be able to stop any car at any time without a reasonable cause? How will they prove, or even need to prove, that all seat belts were not in use at the time of the stop? HUMMMMM

  • Richard

    Here in Kentucky its $75 the first time and $150 the second time and you have to go to mandatory Traffic school which cost and other $150 plus you have to go 4 times once a week and get a certificate of completion!!

  • luis

    My life my choice.. That is true freedom..

    People have a very erroneous and distorted idea of what freedom is if they enforce and promote government coercion..

    • Cindy

      And I should have the right not to pay increased insurance costs when you get seriously injured for your bad decision. Either that, or your insurance should have the right to deny any medical claims from an accident you are in if you are not wearing a seatbelt. That would work too. When are selfish people like you going to learn that every decision you make impacts other people besides just you? Sheesh.

      • Kelly nicholes

        Insurance companies to refuse to pay if you don’t wear your seatbelt. Look up Tracy Morgan and his accident.

  • Ashkii

    I had 6 friends that died because they had their seatbelt on and could get out of their car. 2 of them burned in their car with their seatbelt on the others died from injuries they sustained in the wreck but couldn’t get their belt undone. It save lives but it also takes them. Personally I don’t wear mine and I don’t we should have to if we don’t want to. You should have the right to do what you want with your own life.


      When your car rolls your won’t have to worry about getting out if it catches fire. The first rotation springs your door open and out you go …. free as a bird. On the second rotation the car rolls over you ….. but it really doesn’t matter all that much. You died right about the time you impacted the asphalt.

  • Cindy

    So many of you are saying that it is your life, your decision. Here is the thing though, 1. drivers who neglect to do something so simple as putting on a seatbelt also tend to be the same idiots who take risks on the road. They are the ones who tend to text and neglect to signal as they justify their reckless behavior in the same manner. 2. It does impact others! If you get seriously injured in an accident your insurance pays increased medical costs. Guess who gets to pay those increased costs? Everyone else who carries that insurance!!!! So, your selfish decision costs others thousands more in insurance because you can’t be bothered to take 2 seconds to buckle up. Get over yourselves and realize that nothing you do only impacts you and I am sick of paying for your negligence.

    • Pedro

      Using that philosophy, we should monitor and regulate almost every aspect of people’s lives that may end up costing society in one way or the other. The most obvious example is overeating. Some people overeat and do not exercise, which often leads to adverse health affects and higher medical costs. By your philosophy we should have safety police regulating our food intake and work out routines and while they are at it they can monitor all of our hobbies and recreational activities so make sure we are not doing anything too reckless which may cost society more in health care related issues. It is a slippery slope which you seat belt activists cannot seem to grasp. I WEAR A SEAT BELT! I LIKE MY SEAT BELT! What I do not like is the government enforcing and regulating every aspect of our lives. This is not a seat belt issue dummies!

      • Kelly nicholes

        You nailed it right on the head! Run for some kind of office so that I can vote for you. Seriously, though.

  • Cindy

    If you read the statistics, you will find that roughly 33 of the 50 states already have higher seatbelt usage than Utah and still have higher deaths per million miles traveled. Some significantly higher. What is frustrating is that people who want to buckle up should, but it is not their right, let alone the states to dictate how you live. Most of these people are willing to jump on the bandwagon and support these types of laws until a law is passed that infringes on personal liberties. Lose them one at a time, but they will all be lost with that type of thinking.

  • Misti Parker

    I talked to a highway patrolman who retired about 5 years ago. He said 60% of the time you are safer with your seatbelt on especially in a roll over. The other 40% of the time you are not. They can trap you especially when you are hit on the drivers side. I have been in two accidents one a 16 year old girl turned right in front of me on a road with a 50 mph speed limit. I did not have my seat belt on. The police told me if it had been on I would have been crushed by the steering wheel. I was thrown out of the way of the collision empact (80% head on). The other time I had a seat belt on and it detached by last rib. The other person in the car didn’t have their seat belt on and had no injuries. I know seat belts can save lives they can also take them. Living in a free land I feel like it is a personal choice… many people want to fine , punish and control what should be an Adults choice.

  • Kelly nicholes

    I want to see evidence about seat belts saving lives. I want to know whose lives seat belts save. I don’t like being told how to enjoy my property. I will always wear my seatbelt while driving, but I’m very upset that the government is making me. Exercise saves lives, too. Will i start receiving fines if I’m caught not exercising?

  • bryce

    I believe that a seatbelt is a necessary thing to be concerned about and yes it should be worn at all times when driving but even more my only complaint is the way that our lawinforcement. Will utilize this new law as an excuse to pull over citizens in they’re fishing write tickets and arrests, I have been pulled over more then five times with faulty excuses by the officers just so they could check me all within a week by leaving a bar as a designated driver and I’m positive this will now be they’re too seller as it appeared to me sir that you were not wearing your seat belt. I only hope that they will use this new law as it is written. And not for they’re quota.

  • William Hatfield

    Standard law in many many states. It also became very routine when I was stationed up at Hill A.F.B. back from 1990 – 1993. You came through the gate you had better believe you belt be fastened. It was required on base. Became second nature and I still do so till this day. So when my home state made it law it was no big deal.

  • Daniel

    One step closer to a communist state !!
    Why is it big brothers responsibility to protect us from our selves ? I do agree that seat belts save lives but isn’t that our right as a free society to chose how we live or die ?

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