The Colorado Department of Transportation has reported that during its statewide Click it or Ticket campaign, which ran from May 11 through May 31, officers cited 6,942 people for not wearing seat belts, according to a CDOT press release. The same campaign last year resulted in more than 8,000 people being cited for the offense, as Jesse Paul writes for The Denver Post.
CDOT points out that in states with primary seat belt laws (of which Colorado is not one), more people wear seat belts:
Motor vehicle traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for Coloradans. Studies show that seat belts reduce serious injuries and deaths in crashes by about 50 percent. States with primary seat belt laws have seat belt use rates that are 13 to 16 percent higher than states with secondary laws — Colorado is a secondary law state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes cost Colorado more than $623 million each year in medical expenses and work loss costs.
Colorado’s secondary law helps up to a point. Paul quotes Darrell Lingk, the Colorado Department on Transportation’s safety director, who said in a statement, “In 2013, 62 lives in Colorado could have been saved if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants five and older had been properly restrained.”
The Click it or Ticket campaign reached 273,940 people on Facebook, and received 15,276 comments, CDOT writes. It also used billboards, gas station ads and radio ads, reaching thousands more people, CDOT writes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funded the campaign, whose ads “featured images of seat belts eliminating ‘damage’ from ‘brain damage’ or ‘ejection’ from ‘windshield ejection,'” CDOT writes.
As this blog reported in January 2014, the 2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws says Colorado is not one of the safest states in terms of its laws, although it is not among the most dangerous either. That “roadmap” said that Colorado should implement the following laws to make driving safer in the state: primary enforcement seat belt law (for the front and back seats); all-rider motorcycle helmet law; and graduated driver’s license (GDL), which entails a minimum age of 16 for learner’s permit, nighttime restriction provision (without secondary enforcement), passenger restriction provision (without secondary enforcement), and age 18 for unrestricted license.
Although seat belts are required to be worn by drivers and all front seat passengers in Colorado, drivers cannot be pulled over simply because they or their front seat passengers are not wearing a seat belt, as DMV.org writes. But if a driver is pulled over for a traffic violation, he or she can then be cited for not wearing a seat belt or for driving with a front seat passenger who is not wearing one, DMV.org writes. There are a few exceptions to that rule: drivers whose vehicle was manufactured before July 1, 1968 (the year the federal government began requiring all vehicles to have seat belts), and passengers who have a physical or psychological disability that prevents the use of seat belts, DMV writes.