CDOT’s hearse procession comes to Colorado Springs - calls attention to grave reality of unbuckled fatalities in Colorado

News Release

August 18, 2023 - Statewide Safety News - El Paso County has a 79% seat belt usage rate, amongst the lowest in the state

Haga clic aquí para ver este comunicado de prensa El desfile de carrozas fúnebres de CDOT llega a Colorado Springs para llamar la atención a la grave realidad de las muertes de personas sin llevar el cinturón de seguridad abrochado en español.

El Paso County — This afternoon, the Colorado Department of Transportation held a funeral hearse procession in El Paso County to bring attention to the importance of wearing a seat belt. Last year 236 unbuckled drivers and passengers were killed on Colorado roadways. Colorado also has a seat belt usage rate below the national average. The hearse procession, held in high-traffic areas throughout Colorado Springs, serves as a somber reminder of what could be a person’s final journey if they fail to buckle up.

Preliminary data from the 2023 Colorado Statewide Seat Belt Survey found that 88.6% of people statewide buckle up, and in El Paso County, the percentage drops to 79%, which was the third lowest among all the counties in the study. El Paso County also had the second most vehicle crash fatalities in the state. Forty-five people were killed, with almost half (22) of them being unbuckled. So far this year there have been 12 unbuckled crash deaths in El Paso County. Therefore, CDOT and its partners are hoping today’s hearse procession will serve as a wake-up call to those who don’t use seat belts.

The 12-mile-long route that the hearses will follow is intended to serve as an awareness tactic for drivers and passengers alike to buckle up.

Hearse Procession Graphic with text, "Buckle up. Avoid this ride." Text below reads, "Click it or ticket."

“Many people believe that airbags alone are enough to keep you safe in the event of a crash. The truth is air bags are designed for when you’re buckled up,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director, Darrell Lingk. “There is no excuse to not wear a seat belt. We want everyone to make it home to their families so please buckle up.”

The hearses, provided by Pikes Peak Hearse, joined forces at the Gold Hill Division of the Colorado Springs Police Department before embarking on their route through Colorado Springs. The three hearses passed by familiar landmarks across the city such as downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado College and Old Colorado City. The convoy, dressed in conspicuous messaging such as “Buckle Up: Avoid This Ride” and “Click It or Ticket,” captured the interest of passersby.

Another hearse procession was held in Denver on June 16, 2023. The fleet traveled by popular neighborhoods and landmarks, such as Civic Center Park, Ballpark District, River North, Five Points and South Broadway. The convoy featured six hearses, adorned in the same melancholy messaging, and garnered notable attention from onlookers downtown.

“Wearing a seat belt significantly improves your ability to survive a crash,” said Colorado State Patrol Chief Matthew C. Packard. “Clicking your seat belt is such a small effort that pays off tremendously — it can save your life. Seat belts are often the difference between life or death.”

The counties with the highest number of unbuckled fatalities in Colorado so far this year are:

  • Arapahoe County (13 fatalities)
  • El Paso County (12 fatalities)
  • Weld County (12 fatalities)
  • Adams County (11 fatalities)
  • Boulder County (10 fatalities)

Proper seat belt usage significantly reduces the risk of injury or death in a crash. Without a properly fastened seat belt, vehicle occupants can be ejected from a vehicle, which is almost always deadly. The Click It or Ticket campaign encourages people to buckle up to avoid a citation and, more importantly, get to their destination safely.

Vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Last year, 66% of car seats weren’t properly installed out of 5,000 that were checked in Colorado. Parents and caregivers can learn more about Colorado child passenger safety laws, recommendations and recalls at

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

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 87%. For more information about seat belt safety and enforcement citation numbers, visit