CDOT Gets Personal to Encourage Seat Belt Use

Traffic Safety Pulse News

Nurses are busy enough, says new campaign

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

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) launched a new public awareness campaign to draw attention to the importance of seat belt safety and the importance of buckling up.

The counties that had the most unbuckled deaths in 2019 were Adams (25), Weld (23) and El Paso (15).

Throughout the month of August, CDOT’s “Reasons” campaign will remind drivers and passengers about the wide variety of personal reasons people may have for buckling up. Healthcare providers and first responders helped kick off the campaign with video testimonials about buckling up.

“We all have reasons to make it to our destination safely, and wearing a seat belt can help ensure that we do,” said CDOT Traffic Safety Manager Sam Cole. “CDOT’s campaign taps into lighthearted things that motivate us, while also underscoring the serious consequences of not buckling up.”

Some of the reasons include:

  • Reason #11 to Buckle Up: A windshield is something nobody should go through.
  • Reason #21 to Buckle Up: “Be right back” shouldn’t be your last words.
  • Reason #84 to Buckle Up: You finally paid off your student loan.
  • Reason #156 to Buckle Up: You’re not out of dad jokes yet.

The campaign’s first billboard is located near Denver Health at W. 8th Avenue and Galapago Street in Denver: Reason #3 to Buckle Up: Nurses are busy enough.

“This message is particularly relevant right now as healthcare workers are under a lot of stress from the coronavirus pandemic,” explains Cole. “By wearing seat belts, drivers and passengers can avoid ending up in an urgent care facility, putting additional strain on the system.”

First responders and healthcare workers see first-hand the impact of wearing—and not wearing—a seat belt. CDOT asked a dozen of them to offer their perspectives on the importance of seat belt safety. Here are a few of their testimonials:

  • Sarah, RN, Denver Health: “We would never want to see you, or any member of your family, in one of our trauma bays because you could have done something as easy as buckling up. We see patients day in and day out that could have taken the very simple step, and instead they end in our ICUs or worse.”
  • Mary, EMT, Lutheran Medical Center: “I remember one particular patient; they had rolled their car several times. The patient was ejected over 20 feet from the car. We know that seat belts keep people safe and I often wonder if that person would have been wearing their seat belt, would it have saved their life.”
  • Mark, Firefighter, Adams County Fire Rescue: “Sometimes we’ll go on vehicle ejections where a patient is thrown from a vehicle. A lot of times we’ll find ourselves going many feet away from the vehicle just to find somebody. In the case that you are ejected from your vehicle because you weren’t wearing your seat belt, you have a higher chance of succumbing to your injuries.”

Video testimonials from healthcare workers and first responders representing Denver Health, Lutheran Medical Center and Adams County Fire Rescue (English and Spanish) can be found here.

Key figures:

  • 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.
  • Seat belts reduce the risk of death or injury by almost 50%.
  • Seat belts save about 200 lives in Colorado every year. But an estimated 70 more could be saved if everyone buckled up. 
  • Colorado’s seat belt use rate is currently 88% — below the national average of 90%. Some rural counties in Colorado are much worse.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers reported lower use of seat belts when traveling less than two miles from home despite being just as vulnerable to a crash.

The “Reasons” campaign includes out-of-home billboards and bus tails, Variable Message Sign reminders, radio ads and paid social media; video testimonials will be shared via CDOT’s social media.