Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 29 local law enforcement agencies throughout the state are in the midst of a two-week Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period which began Nov. 16. The heightened seat belt enforcement period will run through Sunday, Nov. 29.
So far in 2020, 299 occupants in passenger vehicles have been killed in crashes on Colorado roads. Of those, 160 fatalities (54%) involved unbuckled drivers or passengers even though they represent just 14% of vehicle occupants, according to a recent CDOT survey on seat belt usage. Colorado’s seat belt use rate is 86%, below the national average of 90%.
"The Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement serves as a reminder to always buckle up," said Chief Matthew Packard, of the Colorado State Patrol. "Your State Troopers want every driver and passenger to reduce the risk of serious injury, vehicle ejection, or death in the event of a collision on our Colorado roadways. Every citation issued could be a life saved."
There have been 27 unbuckled fatalities in Mesa County since 2017. Mesa County has had a total of two unbuckled fatalities in 2020 (Jan. 1 - Nov. 1), accounting for 50% of the four total passenger vehicle deaths in the county this year. Mesa County’s seat belt use rate is 82%.
An average of an additional 70 lives could be saved each year if Colorado achieved a 100% seat belt use rate, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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.
“With the holiday travel season approaching, one of the safest choices is to stay home to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” said CDOT Director Shoshana Lew. “If you are traveling by car, whether you’re a driver or passenger, making the quick decision to buckle up is a lifesaving decision.”
This enforcement effort marks CDOT’s first November Click It or Ticket enforcement period. During the most recent Click It or Ticket enforcement period in July 2020, 1,839 unrestrained drivers and passengers were issued citations across Colorado.
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.