Everybody Has a Reason to Buckle Up

They That Seat Belt Looks Good On You, Reason #156 to buckle up

Seat Belt Safety Program

Colorado has a seat belt problem. Despite the proven safety benefit of seat belts—they reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by 50% (NHTSA) — 14% of Coloradans choose not to buckle up. 

Unfortunately, this translates into many preventable deaths on Colorado roadways. In 2020, 56% of the passenger vehicle fatalities were unbuckled. That is more than 200 people who lost their lives - and a 7% increase from 189 unbuckled fatalities in 2019.

Colorado’s seat belt use rate falls far below many other states. In 2020 just 86.3% of Coloradans buckled up, a decrease from 88.3% in 2019. The national average is 90%. 

To get more people to buckle up, CDOT wants to reframe the thinking behind this: Everyone who wears a seat belt has their own reasons for doing it. So we are starting a discussion - and a statewide campaign to save lives. We are asking people from all walks of life to talk about their own reasons for buckling up. Serious reasons. Big reasons. Little reasons. Funny reasons. All leading up to one big reason — there is so much of life to live for. 

With people returning to the road in larger quantities, CDOT hopes lighthearted, relevant safety messages will connect with Coloradans and change behavior. After all, everyone knows that seat belts save lives. Now we just need for everyone to find their own reason to buckle up. 

Each year, hundreds of unbuckled injuries and fatalities occur on Colorado roads. With an average of 120,000 crashes each year, there is a 1-in-33 chance that you will be in a car crash. Despite our best intentions, we are all at risk when on the road. Always prepare for the unexpected on our roadways and make sure every person in your vehicle buckles up every time, every trip.

To engage Coloradans in the campaign even further, temporary messages will be stenciled on sidewalks and in parking lots around the Front Range to highlight reasons to buckle up.

Beware of the Beltless

An unbuckled passenger increases your risk of being hurt by 40%. Beware of the Beltless campaign image.

When you don't buckle up, you endanger more than your own life. Drivers and passengers alike often fail to consider how unbuckled occupants continue moving, sometimes at high speed, during a crash. When that happens, they become projectiles capable of seriously hurting or killing other people in the vehicle. 

Being unbuckled also increases your chance of being thrown from the car — regardless of your position within it. In fact, an unbelted rear-seat passenger increases the risk of fatality for the driver by 137%, compared with a belted rear-seat occupant.

There are countless reasons to buckle up while driving. Whether behind the wheel or in the back seat, every occupant in a vehicle is vulnerable to the physical forces of a crash. Remember to buckle up every time — and don't be afraid to ask others to do the same.

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