Buckle Up Rural Colorado - It's a Habit You Can Live With

March 30, 2011 - Traffic Safety - Law Enforcement in 50 rural counties conduct Click It or Ticket enforcement March 31-April 6th.

DENVER – In an effort to increase seat belt use and save lives on rural Colorado roadways, the Colorado State Patrol and 36 rural law enforcement agencies in 50 counties are mobilizing for a Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period, March 31 through April 6th.  The enforcement is combined with a seat belt education campaign, aimed at dispelling the myths and excuses people make for not buckling up.

"The focus of this Click It or Ticket enforcement period is to help save lives across Colorado," said James Chamberlain, chief of police for Walsenburg Police Department. "Crashes on rural roadways represented over half of the state's fatalities in 2009. We are working to enforce seat belt use in our local communities because we care about our community members and want to keep everyone safe on the roads."

In 2009, 254 people were killed in crashes on rural roadways, representing 54% of the state’s total fatalities.  And more than half of those killed in rural areas were not wearing a seat belt, compared to 36% in urban areas.

One of the biggest reasons people give for not buckling up is that they aren’t traveling very far.  The reality is that 85% of crashes occur within five miles of a person’s home.  Others say they simply forget to buckle up because they never developed the habit.

“It’s a fact that seat belts save lives,” said Mark Bray, firefighter and paramedic for the Montrose Fire Department. “I’ve arrived on the scene of crashes with vehicles so mangled that you can’t imagine anyone would survive, but they have survived because they remembered to buckle up. We hope Click It or Ticket will remind everyone to start a habit that can save lives.”

Drivers of pickup trucks have the lowest overall seat belt use at just 73%, compared to 85% in cars. Nearly 8 out of 10 people killed in pickup trucks in Colorado did not wear a seat belt.  Pickup trucks are twice as likely to roll over in a crash, despite the belief that they are safer vehicles.

The increased seat belt enforcement will take place in the following counties:

During last year’s seven-day rural Click It or Ticket enforcement period, 2,147 seat belt citations were written.

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. Click It or Ticket enforcement focuses on speeding and aggressive drivers. Drivers who are stopped for a traffic violation and are not using a seat belt will be ticketed.  Seat belt fines are $65 per violation.

Colorado's child-passenger safety law and its teen driver seat belt law are primary enforcement, meaning the driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child in the vehicle or if a teen driver and their passengers are not buckled up.  The public can find more information about the law www.seatbeltscolorado.com and www.carseatscolorado.com.

Participating Agencies (pdf)