SALT LAKE CITY -- Traffic fatalities in Utah haven't been this low in nearly four decades, but transportation officials still aren't satisfied.
Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Highway Patrol released yearly traffic fatality statistics Thursday; 233 people died on state roads during 2011, a 20 percent drop since 2006.
In 2010, the state had 235 traffic fatalities.
UDOT Executive Director John Njord said the number of fatalities in Utah hasn't been this low since 1974.
While UDOT and UHP officials are pleased with the drop in fatalities, especially over the past five years, they say this year's number is still too high.
"We're pleased to see a continued drop in fatal crashes, but we can't be satisfied or accept even one fatality," said Njord. "Zero fatalities is the goal, and it requires every person who gets in a car to commit to making our roads safer. We ask you to buckle up, slow down, get off the phone and put on your seat belt."
Weber County had 20 fatalities in 2011, up from 17 in 2010; Davis County had 13, compared to nine the year before; Box Elder County had 9, down from 12; and Morgan County had two fatalities, and none the previous year.
UDOT officials say factors that contribute to the majority of fatal accidents in the state are drowsy driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, impaired driving and not wearing a seat belt.
Two of those factors have dropped drastically since 2006, with fatigue-related fatalities down by 30 percent and distracted driving fatalities down by 28 percent.
And while Utah has an 89.2 percent seat-belt-usage rate, the 11 percent who did not buckle up accounted for more than 30 percent of the traffic fatalities in 2011 and more than one in three traffic fatalities over the past five years.
In response to those figures, the state has created a new TV public service announcement that reminds Utahns of the importance of buckling up.
"Buckling up when you're in the car is one simple thing we can do to reduce fatal crashes on our roads," said Utah Highway Patrol Col. Daniel Fuhr.
Citing numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fuhr said drivers are 50 percent more likely to survive a crash if they are buckled up.
"If every person buckled up every time, we could have eliminated more than 530 traffic fatalities in the last five years alone," Fuhr said.
Of the 233 fatalities in 2011, 182 were on dry roads. Males were involved in more fatal accidents than females, accounting for 164 deaths.