St. George Police: Seat belt law yields 433 stops; warnings, tickets, warrant arrests, DUI

ST. GEORGE – During the month of May, St. George Police officers, working a special seat belt shift, conducted a total of 433 traffic stops, resulting in 417 people receiving written warnings and three people being issued a seat belt citation.

“Safety restraints for adults and children have proven to prevent injuries in minor collisions and have saved lives in more significant impacts. They are designed to, and do, save lives,” the St. George Police Department said in a press statement issued Wednesday evening.

In addition to officers watching for seat belt violations during their regular patrol shifts, the Police Department amped up their patrol on these types of violations. During the month of May, the St. George Police Department received funding for focused patrols, emphasizing seat belt usage.

Twenty officers worked 30, five-hour shifts, specifically focusing on safety restraint education and enforcement, the department said. These shifts were outside of officers’ regularly scheduled shifts.

The Police Department said:

A total of 433 traffic stops were made by officers working the seat belt shifts during the month. Out of those 433 contacts, 417 written warnings and 3 citations were issued. The citations were the result of the drivers having been previously warned for the same violation. Additionally, 48 warnings and 32 citations were issued for other moving and non-moving violations.

Officers also encountered drivers and vehicle occupants who had outstanding warrants for their arrest. Fifteen arrest warrants were discovered and served during the seat belt shifts. One driver was found to be impaired and was arrested for DUI and failing to meet his sex offender registration requirements.

Annually, there are news stories from across the country reporting fatal collisions involving unrestrained vehicle occupants that could, or should, have survived the impacts had they been restrained, the statement said.

“Please buckle up and ensure that your passengers are properly restrained,” the Police Department said. “It only takes seconds but can make all the difference when needed.”

Buckle up: In Utah it’s the law

A new seat belt law went into effect in May, making failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense, meaning police can now pull over drivers who aren’t wearing a seat belt.

Utah Legislature’s 2015 Safety Belt Law Amendments brought via House Bill 79 first substitute, passed the House 41-32 with 2 not voting, passed the Senate 17-11 with 1 not voting, and was signed by Gov. Gary Herbert in March (see ed. note for Southern Utah legislators’ voting). Prior to the new law, police could cite adult drivers who didn’t wear seat belts only if they had been pulled over for another violation.

The bill allows officers to issue warnings on a first offense. On the second offense, an offender will likely receive a citation and a fine of $45.

Ed. note:  From Southern Utah, Reps. Brad Last, John Westwood, V. Lowry Snow, Don Ipson, and Merrill Nelson voted for the legislation, while Reps. Jon Stanard and Michael Noel voted against it. Sens. Ralph Okerlund and Steve Urquhart voted for the legislation, while David Hinkins and Evan Vickers voted against it.

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24 Comments

  • 42214 June 11, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    OK, I’m going to ask for a serious explanation of a simple question. What is the reasoning for requiring seatbelts but not requiring motorcycle helmets?

    • McMurphy June 11, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      No reason whatsoever. Just your Utah legislature putting the fun in dysfunctional.

  • Jon R Cocktoasten June 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I’m sure the helmet thing will be next… The gov’t is slowly creeping more and more into our personal lives and taking away our free agency!!! The best part about this seatbelt law is now they are using it as a profiling tool. Can’t wait to see the “stats” on all the “other stuff” they get from their seatbelt stops.

  • solocholo June 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Please…pulling over citizens and harassing them over anything including seat belts is total bs! I couldn’t agree more on the helmet thing. So my tax dollars paid to STOP 433 people in one month and harass them…nothing to brag about! Should be ashamed. That’s over 14 per day! The police and government aren’t protecting anybody…they are looking to generate cash. Sneaking around in unmarked cars. Try writing about what that cost the citizens and how much good that has done. This is nothing more than harassment and I am helping to pay for it.

    • JOSH DALTON June 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Oh quit complaining and wear your seat belt. You should try being brown in this town. Now they don’t have a reason to pull us over anymore. We wear our seat belts.

  • chupacabra June 11, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Funny enough you can ride unrestrained in the back of a pickup and still be 100% legal.

    Our statist regime makes me sick.

    • izzymuse June 12, 2015 at 9:29 am

      School buses don’t have seat belts. Is that consistent? Are school districts going to be fined?

  • izzymuse June 12, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Government: “We need to find a way to raise more revenue! $$$$”
    This isn’t about public safety. More about government control and another source of revenue $!
    Government: “Yeehaw! This seat belt law is gonna be our bread n butter!!!”

    • 42214 June 12, 2015 at 11:18 am

      If you really believe what you said, simply wear your seat belt and beat the nasty government at their own game. Now wasn’t that difficult.

  • 42214 June 12, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Seat belts save lives and keep you behind the wheel during emergency evasive manuevers if you’re attempting to control the car as opposed to just being a spectator to the crash. 34 states have primary seat belt laws, 15 have secondary laws and only one state, New Hampshire doesn’t have a seat belt law. With the number of crashes we have here you’re nuts not to wear a seat belt. Maybe it would be more acceptable if you got a ticket for stupid instead of a seat belt violation.

    • izzymuse June 13, 2015 at 9:56 am

      42214, aka, kool-aid drinker, My safety is my responsibility, not the local, state, or federal governments. The proper role of government is to protect you and me from other people and to ensure justice is served if/when you or I have been hurt or property has been damaged/stolen. Here is where “nanny government” logic/reasoning leads to: Example: Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death. Too much fat in ones diet and a sedentary lifestyle are the two causes of heart disease. Therefore, the government should make laws that would force Americans to eat healthier and regularly exercise. Do you see how these kind of laws (government trying to protect citizens from themselves)? According to your “good”, moral reasoning, the government is justified in legislating and enforcing laws which will force citizens to be robots. You seem to work in the law enforcement or have been raised by someone who did. You sound like a brainwashed statist. “The government knows what’s best for us. Just do it! Just wear your seat belt and be good boys and girls!” C’ mon. The founders of the U.S. Constitution NEVER intended laws that do the thinking for Americans. Law is to protect the people from violence, fraud, foreign invasion, and theft, NOT stupidity. I can’t understand this for you. I hope someday you (people like you) will understand the proper role of government.

      • fun bag June 13, 2015 at 11:51 am

        Izzy needs to be protected from his own stupidity…

        • izzymuse June 13, 2015 at 12:30 pm

          FUN BAG and 42214 are the same person and that’s cheesy. ?

          • fun bag June 13, 2015 at 1:45 pm

            No… and you just proved my point 😛

      • 42214 June 13, 2015 at 12:18 pm

        Izzy, you’re so naive. The most dangerous thing known to mankind isn’t foreign invasion, violence or fraud. It’s stupidity. You can cite all the intrusive laws we have, which I agree are ridiculously high, but arguing against the idea that seat belts are not a valuable safety device that protects all of us, not just the one wearing it. Now that’s what I’m talking about, that’s stupid.

        • izzymuse June 13, 2015 at 12:39 pm

          Bad driving is dangerous. Seat belts do NOT make bad drivers into responsible, good drivers. Your reasoning is tragically flawed. ?

          • 42214 June 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

            As usual, you assume something I didn’t say. Didn’t say seat belts make you a better or more responsible driver. Go out on some deserted road and make a radical steering movement to the left at 35 mph without a seat belt and tell me how well you control the car from the right front passnger seat. You’re just as stupid with a seat belt as not. It just gives you a better chance to control your car in an emergency. If you don’t believe that, call any performance driving school in the country. Also, I can’t stand Hillary so you’re wrong again with your pompous assumptions.

        • RealMcCoy June 13, 2015 at 12:50 pm

          So take all the warning labels off of things and let the problem solve itself….

  • 42214 June 13, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Izzy, you’re 100% correct. I hope you don’t wear a seat belt. You remind me of the moron Biker who rode without a helmet to protest a new helmet law in Calif and was killed in a minor accident where he should have only suffered a broken leg. I think the nanny state paid for his funeral.

    • izzymuse June 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Well, if Hillary Clinton becomes president, people like you will be happy to have more government control of he poor, stupid Americans who can’t think for themselves and need government to wipe their butts for them. Seat belts and helmets do NOT make people better drivers; your kind of thinking will be the blind faith in government which will be the loss of human liberty. But your world will be so safe…

      • 42214 June 13, 2015 at 2:15 pm

        There are people who are so stupid they need someone to wipe their butts as you say. The fact that you bring it up worries me about you. You want to rant about food police, nanny state, thought police, petty muni codes, whatever, I’ll probably agree with you in most if not all cases. You simply need to pick your battles more wisely instead of blindly railing against any govt regulation. You probably have a hard time standing in line cause it’s an intrusion on your freedom. You can type till your fingers fall off and you’ll never disprove the value of seat belts as a safety device that you’re foolish not to utilize.

  • 42214 June 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    One last question Izzy if you’re still around. If you have such heartache with seat belts, how do you feel about a law against texting while driving? Is that sacraficing liberty just to be safe?

  • 42214 June 14, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Izzy, where iz you. I’m dying to hear a long winded diatribe from you on this simple question. Texting?

  • 42214 June 15, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Izzy your silence is deafening. I guess my question was harder than I thought it was.

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