Starting Monday, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will begin a six-day Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period targeting rural areas of Colorado. The enforcement period will run through March 31. In 2018, five of the six counties with the lowest seat belt use in Colorado were all rural, according to a CDOT study.
Colorado's seat belt use rate is 86 percent, well below the national average of 90 percent. Last year, 215 unbuckled drivers and passengers were killed in crashes in the state, accounting for more than half of the 410 total passenger vehicle deaths. In 2017, an estimated 70 lives could have been saved if everyone in Colorado had buckled up.
"One of CDOT's core values is safety, and seat belt use is crucial to keeping drivers and passengers safe on the roads," said Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety. "We hope the Click It or Ticket rural campaign will encourage people to buckle up, especially in areas with the most opportunity to increase usage rates and save lives."
The March rural enforcement is the first of three Click It or Ticket enforcement periods in 2019. During the same Click It or Ticket spring enforcement last year, 1,279 seat belt citations were issued in rural communities across Colorado.
In 2017, an estimated 70 lives could have been saved if everyone in Colorado had bucked up.
"Hospitals are often few and far between in rural areas so emergency vehicles have more distance to travel to help those involved in serious crashes," said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the CSP. "Buckling a seat belt is simple and the protection provided is invaluable -- seat belts reduce the risk of serious injury and death in motor vehicle crashes by 50 percent. In order to save your life and the lives of others in the car, we encourage everyone to buckle up every time you enter a vehicle."
CDOT is also reminding drivers that crashes are unexpected and can happen even during short trips. To encourage people to buckle up close to home, CDOT rolled out an awareness campaign to remind drivers that even quick trips need a click. The outdoor display in Lakewood, CO features a six-foot tall roll of bathroom tissue and a crashed car with the message - Click It for Quick Essentials.
Fines for not buckling up in Colorado start at $65, and parents or caregivers caught with an improperly restrained child can receive a minimum fine of $82.