CDOT study shows pickup truck drivers buckling up more

News Release

December 6, 2021 - Statewide Traffic Safety - But Colorado’s overall seat belt use remains stagnant

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STATEWIDE — With Coloradans hitting the roads to spend the holidays with family and friends, CDOT is reminding drivers and their passengers about the importance of using seat belts. According to a recent study by CDOT, statewide seat belt usage overall remained essentially unchanged from 2020 but increased dramatically in pickup trucks, improving from 78.3% to 88.1%.  

Moreover, in the last 10 years there has been a 23% increase in seat belt use among pickup occupants, improving from 71.7% to 88.1%,  while the overall rate for all vehicle types has increased only 7%, improving from 80.7% to 86.6%. 

The study included observations at 770 locations in 31 counties across the state.  A total of 119,842 vehicles were observed, including cars, vans, sports utility vehicles (SUVs), and pickup trucks. Overall only  86.6% of drivers and front-seat passengers were buckled. Last year the same survey found that 86.3% of people used seat belts. This is far below the national average of 90.3%.  Commercial vehicles continue to have the lowest seat belt usage rate at 76.2% in Colorado.

Statewide Usage Rates - 2021

“Surviving your holiday drive this year — and making it to the new year — can be as simple as buckling up,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “If you’re ejected from your vehicle in a crash, the odds are you will not survive. Wearing your seat belt is the best defense against unexpected road hazards and the most effective way to survive a crash.”

The counties in Colorado with the highest rate of seat belt use are mostly urban. These include Arapahoe (95.3%), Denver (95%) and Park (93.4%) counties. The counties with the lowest seat belt use are mostly rural. These include Weld (71.6%), Cheyenne (71.5%) and Pueblo (66.2%) counties.

The CDOT study also evaluated seat belt usage rates compared to speed. Seat belt usage was highest when drivers were traveling in higher speed limit areas. Concerningly, as motorists travel in lower speed limit areas, seat belt usage declined.

When you wear your seat belt, your risk of fatal injury goes down by 45%. For passenger truck occupants, that risk is reduced by 60%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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% to 86%. For more information about seat belt safety and enforcement citation numbers, visit