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Click It or Ticket Enforcement Focuses on Rural Colorado

 

 

STATEWIDE — As of Monday, July 15, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies will begin a week-long Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period focusing on rural areas of Colorado. The enforcement period will run through Sunday, July 21. In 2018, five of the six counties with the lowest seat belt use in Colorado were in rural areas, according to a CDOT study. Those included:

  • Cheyenne (65%)
  • Delta (75%)
  • La Plata (76%)
  • Montezuma (77%)
  • Chaffee (77%)

Colorado’s seat belt use rate is 86 percent, below the national average of 90 percent. The seat belt enforcement effort supports CDOT’s Whole System ­— Whole Safety initiative and the agency’s vision to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roadways. In 2018 there were 632 traffic fatalities on Colorado roads, including pedestrian, motorcyclists and occupants of passenger vehicles.

In 2017, 410 occupants in passenger vehicles were killed on Colorado roads. Of those, 206 fatalities occurred in rural areas, with 118 (57.3%) of those involving unbuckled drivers or passengers. Statewide in 2017, an estimated 70 lives could have been saved if everyone in Colorado had buckled up. In 2018, 220 unbuckled drivers and passengers were killed in crashes in the state, accounting for more than half of the 416 total passenger vehicle deaths.

“Choosing to wear a seatbelt can be a lifesaving decision. Drivers and passengers wearing seatbelts are much more likely to survive an accident, yet last year more than half of passenger vehicle deaths were unbuckled drivers,” said CDOT Director Shoshana Lew. “Please remember to buckle up, and to remind fellow drivers and passengers to do the same.”

This year, CDOT went on a Reasons Road Trip to capture stories from Coloradans in Weld, Adams and El Paso counties — the counties with the highest number of unbuckled fatalities in 2017 — about why they buckle up.

  • Summary Video — https://youtu.be/KfWVWTxiTmQ
  • Weld County — https://youtu.be/s31ZIO7J7hE
  • Adams County — https://youtu.be/eN9Y10Ny5d8
  • El Paso County — https://youtu.be/_fL3TxItsX4

CDOT’s hope is that stories from fellow Coloradans will encourage those who don’t wear seat belts to think of a reason to buckle up, and ultimately change their behavior. Coloradans can share their reasons for wearing a seat belt at codot.gov/safety/seatbelts.

To launch the enforcement effort, CDOT hosted an event at UCHealth Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs where local law enforcement participating in the enforcement effort and medical service professionals shared their experiences responding to crashes and the importance of seat belts. To further convey the challenges in responding to rural crashes, a UCHealth LifeLine helicopter was on hand — air medical transport is often the quickest response mechanism in rural areas of the state.

The July rural enforcement is the last of three Click It or Ticket enforcement periods in 2019. During the same Click It or Ticket July rural enforcement last year, 938 unrestrained drivers and passengers were issued citations in rural communities across Colorado.

“Unfortunately, there are people who continue to believe they do not need to fasten their seatbelt when getting in a vehicle, many of whom are in rural communities who think they don’t need to buckle up because there is less traffic or they are only traveling a short distance. The reality is, 52% of collisions occur within a 5-mile radius from home, and 69% occur within a 10-mile radius of home,” said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the CSP. “We hope every citation issued is a reminder to always buckle up every time you enter a vehicle.”

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.

Fines for not buckling up in Colorado start at $65, and parents or caregivers caught with an improperly restrained child can receive a minimum fine of $82.

From 2013 to 2017, 30 children aged zero to eight were killed in passenger vehicle crashes in Colorado. Among these, more than half were in an improperly used or installed car seat — or no car seat at all. Parents and caregivers can learn more about Colorado child passenger safety laws, recommendations and recalls at CarSeatsColorado.com.

Filed Under: Consumer IssuesCountyEducationEventsFeaturedHealthLaw EnforcementMedia ReleasePublic SafetyTourismTransportation

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