Young children who are not buckled up face serious injury or even death in case of a car accident. In the Colorado Department of Transportation’s recent rural “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement period, July 18 to 24, law enforcement officers ticketed 45 parents and caregivers for not properly restraining their children.
CDOT is focusing this whole year on getting the message out that unbuckled occupants are not only in danger themselves, but can seriously injure or kill others in crashes because they can become projectiles.
More Than 1,000 Cited in Colorado Campaign
Fifty-eight agencies took part in the campaign. The agencies issuing the most citations were: the Colorado State Patrol (604), the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office (39), Montrose Police (37), and the Montrose Sheriff’s Office (32).
Some Rural Areas Lag in Belt Use
CDOT, which has an ongoing goal of boosting seat belt use in the state, says many rural areas consistently lag behind other areas in seat belt use. Passengers who are not wearing their seat belts increase the risk by 40% that other people in the vehicle will be seriously injured or killed as a result.
Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, said:
Riding unbelted is extremely dangerous to everyone in a vehicle. The benefits of seat belts are proven. CDOT’s goal for the enforcement periods is to remind people to buckle up — before they are injured, or even worse, killed.
And Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said:
With something as simple and effective as clicking a seat belt, there is no excuse to risk your life and endanger others.
Laramie County Campaign
In a related news item, Laramie County, Wyoming, has launched a 12-month program to encourage more people to wear seat belts, Sarah Zoellick writes for Wyoming Tribune Eagle. In that county, approximately 20% of people in vehicles don’t wear seat belts. Sheriff Danny Glick said he can’t understand why this percentage can’t be improved.
Zoellick quotes Dara Lawyer, injury prevention coordinator for Wyoming’s Department of Health, as saying that by wearing a seat belt, a person’s risk of serious injury and death is cut in half.
Across the United States, about 86% of drivers and front seat passengers wear seat belts. But Wyoming’s rate is among the lowest in the U.S., with only 78% of drivers and front seat passengers buckling up. In some parts of the state the rate is as low as 59%.
NHTSA Enforcement Program
The Laramie County law enforcement agency is one of six participating in a yearlong seat belt enforcement program through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The county will determine the effectiveness of the campaign by doing monthly seat belt observation studies and releasing results to the public.
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