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THE WINNERS AND THE LOSERS

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* WINNERS: Utah motorists for driving more safely. Though the 1992 highway death toll of 269 is still much too high, it's well below the five-year average of 304.

LOSERS: Utah motorists - for not driving safely enough. As the Deseret News reported this week, more than half of those killed on Utah roads in 1992 were not wearing seat belts. Good grief! There's never a legitimate excuse for not buckling up.* WINNERS: Eighth grade students in Utah. Only 28 per cent of them failed to meet basic proficiency standards in the latest mathematics tests given by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. That gives the Utah youngsters eighth best record in the nation.

LOSERS: All those voters who believed politicians promising to reduce the federal deficit. Despite all those vows, 80 percent of the bills in Congress would increase spending. The National Taxpayers Union Foundation reports that if 621 bills introduced in Congress became law, spending would rise $14.37 for every dollar cut.

LOSER: Terry L. Frazier of Chesapeake, Va. - for fishing at the wrong bank. Instead of fishing from the bank of the James River, he has been charged with dangling a hook and line into the night deposit box at the Jefferson National Bank in Richmond.

LOSERS: Women drivers - and men drivers. A new national survey shows that male drives have more traffic accidents but women drivers have a higher rate of accidents per mile driven. Also a loser is anyone who thinks there will ever be an end to the old debate over which sex is better at driving.