During its recent Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) gave out 1,593 tickets for drivers and passengers across rural Colorado who were not belted up. Of those, 90 citations were given to drivers who had children in their vehicles who were not wearing seat belts.
CDOT ran the campaign from March 28 to April 3 because of a high number of traffic deaths — and correspondingly low seat belt usage — in rural Colorado. Although seat belt use is improving in rural communities, there is a lot more that needs to be done, said Darryl Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety.
The citations were issued by 14 State Patrol troops and 33 local law enforcement agencies. The State Patrol issued 1,076 tickets, and among the local agencies participating in Click It or Ticket, the Ft. Luton Police Department issued the most, 66, followed by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, 51 , and the Frisco Police Department, 49. The minimum fine for not wearing a seat belt in a vehicle in Colorado is $65 per violation.
Seat Belts Save Lives
Seat belts saved 12,802 lives across the United States in 2014, including 169 in Colorado. In 2014, if all the state’s unbuckled drivers, and passengers 5 and older, had been “properly restrained,” 63 more lives could have been saved in fatal car crashes, according to CDOT.
The next Click It or Ticket enforcement period — May Mobilization — will run from May 23 to June 5. Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said of the recent enforcement period: “I hope the people cited during this enforcement will be more aware and buckle up in the future.”
According to CDOT’s Seats Belts page, Colorado’s seat belt use rate is 85%, lower than the 87% national average. However, since CDOT began the Click It or Ticket campaign in 2002, more Coloradans have been using seat belts. The seat belt usage rate in 2002 in Colorado was only 72%.
Car Safety Tips
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are things that can be done to keep everyone safe in vehicles:
- Use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short. This sets a good example.
- Make sure children are properly buckled up in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, whichever is appropriate for their age, height, and weight.
- Have all children age 12 and under sit properly buckled in the back seat.
- Remember to never place a rear-facing child safety seat in front of an air bag.
- Properly buckle children in the middle back seat when possible because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
You can learn more at SeatBeltsColorado.com.