55 Citations Issued for Unbuckled Children
From July 16 to 22, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies across the state conducted a weeklong Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign. The crackdown focused on rural areas of Colorado where fewer people tend to buckle up. Law enforcement issued 931citations during this effort, a decrease from the 1221 citations from the same enforcement period last year. A total of 55 drivers were cited for having unbuckled children in their vehicles.
"Buckling up is something that should be a habit every time you enter a vehicle," said Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. "We hope these enforcement periods remind Coloradans of the importance of seatbelts and the dangers of not using one."
A total of 46 agencies and CSP troops assisted in the rural seat belt enforcement. The Dacono Police Department (81 citations), Ft Lupton Police Department (53 citations) and the Rifle Police Department (36 citations) issued the most citations. CSP totaled 478 citations.
The fine for not buckling up starts at $65, and parents and caregivers with an improperly restrained child can receive a minimum fine of $82.
With 28 unbuckled deaths Weld County had the second-highest number of unbuckled fatalities in 2017 next to El Paso County, which had 33 unbuckled deaths. During this year's rural seat belt enforcement period, CDOT reached out to various churches and places of worship to display creative seat belt messages on roadside signs encouraging drivers to buckle up. One sign read "Seat Belts and Jesus: Saving Body and Soul."
"Buckling up is an effortless way to save your own life in a car crash," said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the CSP. "The purpose of these enforcement periods is to remind passengers how important and easy it is to protect themselves on the road."
Last year, there were 233 unbelted deaths in passenger-vehicle crashes in Colorado, accounting for half of the 437 total passenger-vehicle fatalities in 2017. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that about 60 lives could be saved every year in Colorado if everyone buckled up. In 2015, seat belts saved an estimated 13,941 lives nationwide, including 200 in Colorado.
Learn more about seat belt safety and enforcement citation numbers by visiting codot.gov/safety/seatbelts-carseats.
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.