Colorado seat belt use increases to 88% – Usage is record for the state




STATEWIDE — More Coloradans will be buckling up when they hit the road for the Labor Day holiday weekend. According to a recent survey by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), seat belt use increased by 2% in 2019. This is the highest rate since record-keeping began in 1997 when the state logged a 60% buckling up rate. CDOT’s 2019 State of Colorado Statewide Seat Belt Survey shows seat belt usage improved to 88.3% in 2019 from 86.3% in 2018. The national rate is 90%. In 2018, there were 220 unbuckled passenger vehicle deaths on Colorado roads — accounting for about half of the 416 total passenger vehicle deaths in the state.

The survey identifies use rates for select Colorado counties. The three highest population counties around Denver (Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas) all registered just above 90%. El Paso County also had a 90% use rate. At a population of just over 48,000, Fremont County demonstrated the highest rate of seat belt use across the state at 95.2%. Lower seat belt usage is most often reported in the state’s rural counties, with Moffat coming in lowest at 71.4%, then Cheyenne (74.4%), Delta (80.7%), Otero (82.1%) and Gunnison and Montrose (82.9%). Adams County saw the largest gain in seat belt use, rising 19.3% to 89.2%.

The 2019 seat belt study, along with previous years, can be found at:

“This annual survey provides critical insight to the seat belt use habits across the state and helps us know which counties need more focus and education,” said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Our goal is to bring both the rural and urban county use numbers closer together to increase Colorado’s overall seat belt use and lower passenger vehicle fatalities.”

Among the other findings in the report:

The highest percentage usage was among SUV drivers at 92% with Vans following close behind at 90.1%.

The lowest percentage usage was among commercial vehicles at 75.8% and pickup trucks at 82.6%.

There appears to be a strong correlation between speed and seat-belt usage – at higher speeds, especially on primary roads, drivers are more likely to buckle up than on local roads.


  • 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 Driver 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.

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