State’s July Click It or Ticket Campaign Shows Seat Belt Usage Could Be Improved
In 1993, North Carolina was the first state to implement a “Click It or Ticket” educational campaign to promote seat belt use. Citizens were reminded that using a seat belt is the law and can save your life.
Similar campaigns have been conducted nationwide ever since. Last month, Colorado has conducted its latest statewide campaign, from July 12 to July 19.
If your vehicle is involved in an auto accident, you want to be buckled up.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives, and 2,549 more lives might have been spared had everyone involved in a vehicle crash been wearing a seat belt. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that in 2018, “among passenger vehicle occupants killed who had known restraint use, almost half (47%) were unrestrained.” (The reference to occupants “known” to have used restraints is necessary because it isn’t always possible to tell whether a person killed in an auto accident was buckled up at the time of the accident.)
Colorado law requires every driver and front-seat passenger to wear a seat belt and every child under the age of 15 to be safely restrained wherever seated.
Although compliance has been improving, failure to wear a seat belt remains a significant problem in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), 88 percent of vehicle occupants are now buckling up, a high percentage, if still slightly below the national average of 90 percent compliance.
During Colorado’s most recent seat belt campaign, 59 law enforcement agencies around the state issued almost 1,700 citations for the failure of someone in the vehicle to use a seat belt. In addition to the citations issued because adults were not using a seat belt, 70 drivers were cited for failing to properly restrain a child.
In Denver, police issued about 140 citations for violations of seat-belt and child safety seat rules. The Colorado municipalities issuing the most citations were Loveland and Jefferson County.
Use seat belts properly.
Wearing a seat belt can save your life if it is secured properly. Doing so is especially important in the case of young children and pregnant women. There are several kinds of restraints for infants and young children. Newborns and children up to the age of four should be using a rear-facing car seat; older children can use a front-facing seat. By the time they reach their teens, most children are ready for a regular seat belt.
The NHTSA recommends that pregnant women keep in mind the following when buckling up:
- [You should place] the shoulder belt away from your neck (but not off your shoulder) and across your chest (between your breasts), making sure to remove any slack from your seat belt with the lap belt secured below your belly so that it fits snugly across your hips and pelvic bone.
- NEVER place the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back.
- NEVER place lap belt over or on top of your belly.
CDOT recently launched a new campaign called Reasons, which consists of messages on billboards and bus signs explaining why you should always buckle up. The goal is “to reduce fatalities and injuries and bring everyone home safely.”
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Colorado auto accident, contact Dan Rosen at (303) 963-9906 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.