News

State Ramps up Enforcement for Click It or Ticket, May 23-June 5

May 20, 2011 - Traffic Safety - 2010 Statistics Show Increase in Unstrained Fatalities in SUV Crashes

DENVER – The Colorado State Patrol and more than 100 law enforcement agencies across Colorado are joining the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign by increasing enforcement of seat belt and child passenger safety laws.  The ramped up enforcement takes place Monday, May 23 through Sunday, June 5th. The goal is to get more Coloradans to buckle up and ultimately save lives across the state.

In 2010, 166 people who weren’t buckled up lost their lives in traffic crashes on Colorado roadways. If everyone had buckled up, nearly half of the victims should have lived, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

“Seat belts are simple to use, don’t cost anything extra to put on, and most importantly, are the single most effective way to keep from being injured or killed in a crash,” said Pamela Hutton, CDOT’s chief engineer and governor’s representative for highway safety. “The Click It or Ticket campaign gives us an opportunity to remind everyone that seat belts save lives, and that there are serious risks when people don’t buckle up.”

According to CDOT, young men are overrepresented in statistics each year. In Colorado last year, 68% of the unbuckled deaths were men between the ages of 18 and 34.  Amy Nichols, who lost her 20-year-old son, Brandon and his best friend Paul Ondrish in a crash in 2006, stresses the importance of seat belt use and talking to kids about it: “It only takes two seconds to buckle up and that two seconds can change the lives of the ones you love forever. Seat belt use has an impact on everyone in your life— our boys would be horrified to know the devastating effects their loss has had on the people they love and left behind to deal with it.  As a mother, I urge you to start the habit of buckling up with your children and continue to remind them as teenagers and young adults of the potential devastation if they don’t wear a seat belt.”

People riding in pickup trucks and SUVs are most at risk of dying in a crash because of low seat belt use and a high rate of rollover crashes.  In 2010, 75 people died in Sport Utility Vehicles in Colorado and 75% were not buckled up.  In pickup trucks, 61 people were killed and 67% were unrestrained.

High-visibility enforcement such as the Click It or Ticket mobilization is credited with increase seat belt use in Colorado. Since Click It or Ticket started in 2002, seat belt use has increased from 72% to 82.9%. There has also been a 56% decline in unrestrained deaths—380 in 2002 and 166 in 2010.

“Despite the progress we’ve made in reducing the number of people killed on our roadways, troopers at the Colorado State Patrol are reminded nearly every day of the needless deaths that occur when someone neglects to wear a seat belt.  And we are relieved when we respond to a crash where everyone survives because they took two seconds to buckle up,” said Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief of the Colorado State Patrol.  “We would much rather write a seat belt citation than a fatal crash report.  That means no excuses and no warnings if you’re not buckled up.”

Last year during the May Click It or Ticket, more than 10,383 seat belt violations were issued, including 9,074 for adults, 587 for teenagers and 722 for unrestrained children.

Colorado’s Seat Belt Laws

  • Adults -- 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.  The minimum fine is $65.
  • Teens -- Colorado’s Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) law requires all drivers under 18 and their passengers, no matter what their age, wear seat belts.  This is a primary enforcement, meaning teens can be pulled over simply for not wearing a seat belt or having passengers without seat belts.
  • Children -- Colorado's child-passenger safety law is primary enforcement, meaning the driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child under age 16 in the vehicle.

Please find more information about the laws and how to properly restrain children at www.seatbeltscolorado.com and www.carseatscolorado.com.

List of participating enforcement agencies (pdf)

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal