May 12, 2023
Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager 303-859-1304 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Statewide — On Monday, May 15, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 46 participating law enforcement agencies throughout Colorado will begin the May Mobilization seat belt enforcement period. This is the largest seat belt enforcement campaign of the year, spanning 21 days. Almost 50 law enforcement agencies will be participating. Last summer between the months of June and August there were 201 fatal car crashes on Colorado’s roadways.
Heightened DUI enforcement also starts next week as part of The Heat is On campaign leading up to Memorial Day. That effort begins Tuesday, May 16, and includes 68 law enforcement agencies.
The state’s seat belt use rate still sits at just 87%, well below the national average of 91.6%,
Last year 2,755 drivers across Colorado were issued seat belt citations during Click It or Ticket enforcement periods. Fines for not buckling up start at $65, and parents or caregivers caught with an improperly restrained child can receive a minimum fine of $82.
“We see the tragic consequences of motorists not wearing their seat belts every day,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “No matter how safe you are behind the wheel, you can’t control drivers and conditions around you. Buckling up not only is the law, but it’s also a proven way to reduce injuries and save lives in the event of a crash.”
Colorado exhibits vast differences in seat belt usage as you travel from county to county. According to the 2022 Colorado Statewide Seat Belt Survey, seat belt use was lowest in Pueblo County at 68% — a dramatic difference when compared to Grand County, which reports the highest seat belt usage in the state at 96%.
The Click It or Ticket campaign encourages Coloradans statewide to fasten their seat belts to not only avoid a citation but, more importantly, get to their destinations safely.
“As the weather warms up and more people are out and about on our roadways, it is crucial to wear your seat belt,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “By buckling up, you are not only taking into account the safety of yourself but also setting an example for others to follow.”
Most people killed in traffic crashes are not wearing seat belts. Last year 236 unbelted vehicle occupants were killed in Colorado. Also many people wrongly believe they are safer in the back seat, which is why seat belt use tends to be lower in that seating position. Colorado law only requires adults to buckle up in the front seats.
During the May 2022 seat belt enforcement, 1,872 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants were issued citations statewide. Of these occupants, 29 were unrestrained children. Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Last year, out of over 5,000 car seat checks performed in Colorado, there was a 66% misuse rate. Parents and caregivers can learn more about Colorado child passenger safety laws, recommendations and recalls at CarSeatsColorado.com.
Colorado’s seat belt laws
Adults — Colorado has a secondary enforcement law for adult drivers and front-seat passengers. Drivers can be ticketed for violating the seat belt law if they are stopped for another traffic violation.
Teens — Colorado’s Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) law requires all drivers under 18 and their passengers, regardless of their age, to wear seat belts. This is a primary enforcement, meaning teens can be pulled over simply for not wearing a seat belt or having passengers without seat belts.
Children — Colorado’s Child Passenger Safety law is a primary enforcement, meaning the driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child under age 16 in the vehicle.
About Click It or Ticket
Click It or Ticket is a nationwide campaign from NHTSA. Since Click It or Ticket was introduced in Colorado in 2002, statewide seat belt use has increased from 72% to 87%. For more information about seat belt safety and enforcement citation numbers, visit SeatBeltsColorado.com.
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