CDOT and Denver Yellow Cab Push Buckling Up in Rear Seat

Agencies partner for "Beware of the Beltless" campaign

STATEWIDE—Rear-seat passengers are 300 percent more likely to die in a crash if they are unbelted. Not only a danger to themselves, unbelted rear-seat passengers increase the risk of fatality for the driver by 137 percent, compared with a belted rear seat occupant.

As part of its "Beware of the Beltless" campaign the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) partnered with Denver Yellow Cab at a press conference today, Friday, July 29, to announce a new program aimed at getting more Yellow Cab drivers and customers to wear their seat belts.

Denver Yellow Cab will adorn 400 of its taxicabs with a "Buckle Up Colorado" decal sticker. Also, as the only local cab company with in-cab broadcast video, Yellow Cab will feature a short video (available online) reminding passengers to buckle up.

Additionally, Yellow Cab will place 20 taxicab toppers on cabs reminding drivers and passengers that an unbuckled passenger increases the risk of being hurt or killed in a crash by 40 percent. This will also serve as a mobile reminder to other Colorado motorists to wear their seat belts.

"Denver Yellow Cab is a valuable partner in this campaign, and their unique tactics will reach Coloradans both in and outside the cabs," said Sam Cole, CDOT communication manager. "In 2013, rear seat belt usage in Colorado was 52 percent in fatality crashes. Yellow Cab conducts more than 1.5 million passenger trips annually, serving as an important steward for Colorado's road safety."

According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), nationwide rear seat belt use in 2013 was 78 percent, nine percent lower than front seat belt use (87 percent). In 2012 and 2013 combined, across Colorado, there were 186 fatality crashes involving rear seat occupants age eight years and older, with nearly half (48 percent) of these occurring with an unbuckled back seat passenger.

"This seat belt initiative with CDOT is an excellent way to show our safety commitments not only to our customers, but also our drivers," said Matt Heafner, Denver Yellow Cab general manager. "Backseat passengers often forget to wear their seat belts, so the 'Beware of the Beltless' campaign is a natural fit for Yellow Cab. We're asking our drivers to remind passengers to buckle up for the safety of everyone in the vehicle."

Colorado has a secondary seat belt law, meaning drivers can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt if they are stopped for another traffic violation. Backseat passengers in Colorado are not required by law to wear seat belts once they are over 18 years old.

In the event of a crash, an unbelted driver or passenger can act as a projectile, and cause serious or even fatal damage to others in the vehicle. From 2001 to 2009, a belted driver was more than twice as likely to be fatally injured in a frontal crash if there was an unbuckled rear-seat occupant, compared to a rear-seat occupant wearing a seat belt.

The "Beware of the Beltless" campaign launched this year to address a seat belt crisis in Colorado—the 15 percent of Coloradans who don't buckle up represent over half of the 2015 passenger vehicle fatalities. The campaign raises awareness about exactly how an unbuckled person poses a risk to themselves, other people in the vehicle, and even those outside the vehicle. Learn more about "Beware of the Beltless."

Denver Yellow Cab was founded in Denver in 1924. It is one of the oldest Yellow Cab services in the United States, and Denver's oldest and largest taxicab company, completing more than 1.5 million passenger trips annually. Yellow Cab operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Yellow Cab has been a committed partner to the City and County of Denver in its growth and development, and is very proud to serve Denver Metropolitan Area.