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CDOT and Summit County Partners to Encourage Seat Belt Use

March 26, 2019 - Click It or Ticket Rural Enforcement is Underway

SUMMIT COUNTY — In conjunction with a Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period targeting rural areas of Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has partnered with St. Anthony Summit Medical Center and Summit County Public Health to raise awareness about seat belt safety.

Colorado’s seat belt use rate is 86 percent, well below the national average of 90 percent. Last year, 215 unbuckled drivers and passengers were killed in crashes in the state, accounting for more than half of the 410 total passenger vehicle deaths. In 2017, an estimated 70 lives could have been saved if everyone in Colorado had buckled up. 

“Seat belt use continues to be an issue in Colorado, particularly in rural counties. Lives are being lost because people are not buckling up” said Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety. "We appreciate Summit County’s commitment to raising awareness about the problem, which will undoubtedly help save lives.”

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Sam Cole, Traffic Safety Communication Manager at CDOT, speaks about seat belt safety at a press conference outside the St Anthony Summit Medical Center on Tuesday. 

In 2018, Summit County’s seat belt use rate increased to 87 percent — a 3 percent increase from the previous year. The county now ranks in the top third in the state for seat belt use but below the national average.

“We’re proud that Summit County is part of the trend in Colorado where more people are buckling up,” said Shelly Almroth, trauma program manager at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco. “However, our ultimate goal is to get everyone buckling up no matter how short the distance. Seat belts save lives and provide an incredible health benefit to the public.”

Today, CDOT, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, Summit County Public Health, and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) endorsed the current Click It or Ticket enforcement period at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Summit County to call for more people in Colorado to buckle up. Representatives from the Red, White and Blue Fire Department, the Breckenridge Police Department and other Summit County Public Health agencies also were in attendance to support the effort. CDOT also provided educational materials containing seat belt information, data and laws.

The event supported a six-day Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period, during which CDOT, CSP and local law enforcement agencies are focusing on rural areas of Colorado. The agencies participating can be found at: https://www.codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal. In 2018, five of the six counties with the lowest seat belt use in Colorado were rural, according to a CDOT study. Those rural counties are:

  • Cheyenne (65 percent)
  • Delta (75 percent)
  • La Plata (76 percent)
  • Montezuma and Chaffee (77 percent)

The March rural enforcement is the first of three Click It or Ticket enforcement periods in 2019. During the same Click It or Ticket enforcement last year, 1,279 seat belt citations were issued in rural communities across Colorado.

Fines for not buckling up in Colorado start at $65, and parents or caregivers caught with an improperly restrained child can receive a minimum fine of $82.

About Click It or Ticket

Click It or Ticket is a nationwide campaign from NHTSA. Since Click It or Ticket was introduced in Colorado in 2002, statewide seat belt use has increased from 72 percent to 86 percent. In May 2018, CDOT developed a series of ads featuring Coloradans promoting seat belt use. For more information about seat belt safety and enforcement citation numbers, visit SeatBeltsColorado.com.

About CDOT

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and airports, and administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Governor Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options. 

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