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Click It or Ticket begins Monday as traffic fatalities surge

May 20, 2021 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Fatalities are up 12% over this time last year

DENVER— Starting Monday, May 24, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado State Patrol and 43 local law enforcement agencies throughout the state will begin the largest seat belt enforcement period of the year. The Click It or Ticket campaign will run through Sunday, June 6. The campaign comes in advance of the “100 deadly days of summer,” which historically marks an increase in traffic fatalities between Memorial Day and Labor Day. To date in 2021, there have been 193 deaths on Colorado roadways, a 12% increase compared to this time last year. 

In 2020, 612 people, including pedestrians, were killed on Colorado roads. Of those killed, 365 were in passenger vehicles and 203 or 56% were unbuckled at the time of the crash.  This is a seven percent increase from 189 unbuckled fatalities in 2019.

The Click It or Ticket campaign encourages people to buckle up to avoid a citation but, more importantly, get home safely to their loved ones.

"This campaign reminds drivers and passengers to make safety their number one priority by buckling up every trip, no matter the distance,” said Chief Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol. "We don't give warnings if we pull someone over without a seatbelt - our goal is to save lives. So if you choose not to take your safety very seriously as we do, we will issue you a ticket."

The counties with the most unbuckled traffic fatalities in 2020 were El Paso (25), Weld (23) and Arapahoe (20) counties. El Paso County had the highest increase from 15 deaths in 2019 to 25 deaths in 2020, a 66% increase. 

Unbuckled Fatalaties graph

Statewide, Colorado’s seatbelt use is 86%, which is 4% lower than the national average of 90%. Seat belts reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by 50%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Without a seatbelt fastened, people can be ejected from a vehicle and killed.

Seat belt usage graph

"In 2020, traffic fatalities were up three percent despite far fewer people on the road,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “More than half of those lost on our roads were not wearing their seatbelts. We know that seatbelts save lives and we implore Coloradans to make the safe choice and buckle up.”

This is the first Click It or Ticket enforcement period of 2021. The next enforcement period is from July 31 to August 6. During the November 2020 Click It or Ticket enforcement period, 1,352 unrestrained drivers and passengers were issued citations across Colorado.  

From 2013 to 2017, 30 children from infants to age 8 were killed in passenger vehicle crashes in Colorado. Among these, more than half were in an improperly used or installed car seat — or no car seat at all. Parents and caregivers can learn more about Colorado child passenger safety laws, recommendations and recalls at CarSeatsColorado.com.

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.

  • Teens — Colorado’s Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) law requires all drivers under 18 and their passengers, regardless of their age, to 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 a 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. 

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.

Three out of four parents think their children are in the right car seat, but they are not. Car seat checks are available at car seat inspection stations statewide, and in response to COVID-19, Car Seats Colorado program coordinator Angel Giffin is available for virtual seat checks. Parents and caregivers can learn more information on car seat safety and inspections at CarSeatsColorado.com

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 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. It also 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.