Seat Belts

Each year, hundreds of unbuckled injuries and fatalities occur on Colorado roads. Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to prevent severe injury or death in a motor vehicle crash. It’s simple — if you are going to enter a vehicle, put your seat belt on. Don’t hesitate to ask others to buckle up — seat belts can save your life and possibly someone else’s, too.

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Reasons Road Trip

Everyone has reasons for buckling up and CDOT wanted to know what those reasons are from Coloradans. CDOT spoke with locals from Weld, Adams and El Paso counties — the counties with the highest unbuckled fatality totals — to understand what seat belt safety means to them and to find their reasons for buckling up.

Seat Belt Use

Click It or Ticket is a nationwide campaign from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since Click It or Ticket was introduced in Colorado in 2002, statewide seat belt use has increased from 72 percent to 88 percent.

CDOT, Colorado State Patrol and statewide law enforcement agencies conduct three high-visibility seat belt enforcement periods throughout the year — two focused on rural areas with low seat belt usage rates — to save lives and increase belt use on Colorado’s roadways.

A former Army ranger, Anthony Bratsch now works as a public speaker and entrepreneur, among other pursuits that focus on leadership and positive influence. Bratsch buckles up because he cherishes his life, which was nearly lost on several occasions serving our country. He credits his experiences in the military for shaping his life and perspective today.

Bobby Jones is a 19-year Army veteran and father of two teenagers. Having lost friends in motor vehicle accidents, Jones has taught his children to always buckle up—notably his 15-year-old son, who recently received his driver's permit.

Gina Otero is a mother of two daughters, ages 4 and 2. She works full time and knows that using a seat belt gives her the best chance to make it home safely from work to her beloved daughters.

Kyle Holsinger has been a wildland firefighter for five years. He wears his seat belt to make sure he and his crew can do their jobs, responding to incidents quickly and keeping their community safe.

Mindi Salamon has been a behavioral health nurse for nine years. She is passionate about her job and has seen patients in her facility receive care because of motor vehicle crashes. Salamon and her husband are parents to four children; one reason she wears her seat belt is to set a positive example for them.

Edgardo Menjivar is a retired, 30-year Army veteran. In 1986, one of Menjivar's soldiers crashed his vehicle and died after being ejected. The soldier was unbuckled. Menjivar was responsible for delivering the body to the soldier's mother. He said this was the hardest thing he has done in his life. Menjivar buckles up because he wants to protect himself if he's ever in a crash.

Courtney McNear is the mother of two children, Drew and Peyton. Working in the insurance industry, she sees the impacts of people going beltless on a daily basis. Along with her husband, Andy, McNear always buckles up because she knows she is a role model.

Dave Palmer is a pastor, father and grandfather to a 15-year-old grandson. He is a strong advocate for buckling up; all three of his children survived car crashes within the first year of receiving their licenses. Palmer values life and, in order to protect his own life (and make his wife happy), he always wears his seat belt.

Hear why it's important to buckle up, every trip, every time.
Hear why it's important to buckle up, every trip, every time.
Hear why it's important to buckle up, every trip, every time.

  • Colorado’s seat belt use rate is 88 percent — well below the national use average of 90 percent.
  • In 2019, 196 unbuckled drivers and passengers were killed in crashes in the state, accounting for more than half of the 377 total passenger vehicle deaths.
  • In 2017, an estimated 70 lives could have been saved if everyone in Colorado had buckled up.
  • Seat belts reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by 50 percent.
  • In 2018, five of the six counties with the lowest seat belt use in Colorado were rural.

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. GDL is a primary enforcement, meaning teens can be pulled over solely 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.

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal