News

Buckle Up Rural Colorado – No Matter How Far You Travel

March 27, 2012 - Statewide - Law Enforcement in 49 rural counties conduct Click It or Ticket enforcement April 2-8.

In an effort to increase seat belt use and save lives on rural Colorado roadways, the Colorado State Patrol and 29 rural law enforcement agencies in 49 counties are mobilizing for a Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period, April 2 - 8.  The enforcement is combined with a seat belt education campaign, aimed at dispelling the myths and excuses people make for not buckling up.

"We are enforcing seat belt laws in our rural communities because we know seat belts save lives, and we care about the public’s safety," said Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "Crashes on rural roadways represented over half of the state's fatalities in 2011. We would much rather write a citation than notify a loved one of death that could have been avoided if they had simply buckled up.”

In 2011, 187 people were killed in crashes on rural roadways, representing 60% of the state’s total fatalities.  And more than half (58%) of those killed in rural areas were not wearing a seat belt, compared to 34% 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.

“Please take two seconds to buckle up every time you get in a vehicle no matter how far you are going or what type of vehicle you are riding in.  If we can get everyone to start the habit during Click It or Ticket, we know lives will be saved,” said Officer Sean Goings of the Woodland Park Police Department.

Drivers of pickup trucks have the lowest overall seat belt use at just 70%, compared to 82% in cars. Last year 67% of 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.

Seat belt use saves thousands of lives in Colorado and across America each year. Statistics show that in 2010 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,546 lives nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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

Alamosa

Archuleta

Baca

Bent

Delta

Clear Creek

Chaffee

Cheyenne

Crowley

Conejos

Costilla

Custer

Eagle

Elbert

Fremont

Gunnison

Garfield

Grand

Hinsdale

Huerfano

Jefferson (rural)

Kiowa

La Plata

Lake

Las Animas

Larimer (rural)

Lincoln

Logan

Mesa (rural)

Mineral

Montezuma

Montrose

Moffat

Morgan

Otero

Ouray

Park

Pitkin

Prowers

Pueblo (rural)

Routt

Rio Grande

Saguache

San Miguel

San Juan

Summit

Teller

Washington

Weld

During last year’s seven-day rural Click It or Ticket enforcement period, 1,148 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.

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal