Unbuckled drivers be warned. Starting July 25, the Colorado Department of Transportation, along with the Colorado State Patrol and 44 local law enforcement agencies will begin the summer seat belt enforcement period. The Click It or Ticket campaign will run through Aug. 5. A seat belt violation is a Class B traffic infraction and subject to a $65 fine.
As of July 22, 2022, 118 people not wearing seat belts have been killed on Colorado roads. This is up from 113 people at this time last year. Colorado's seat belt use rate remains stagnant at 86.6 percent while the national average has increased to 90 percent. Seat belts reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by 50 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A total of 1,348 seat belt citations have been issued this year during Click It or Ticket enforcement periods. Thirty-nine of those citations included tickets for improperly restrained children, which carries stiffer penalties. Agencies with the highest number of citations are Castle Rock Police Department (225), Colorado Springs Police Department (212), Thornton Police Department (190) and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (157).
"Seat belts are your best defense against unexpected hazards and other drivers. We enforce seat belt laws for every driver and passenger because your lives matter," said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "Crashes aren't planned so don't take a chance with your safety."
From CDOT's 2022 Driver Behavior Survey, half of surveyed Colorado drivers said they would be unlikely to get a ticket if they did not use their seat belt. Among the survey respondents, seat belt use dropped to just 80 percent when traveling close to home and 11 percent admitted to rarely buckling up at all. But nine out of 10 Colorado drivers agreed it was their responsibility to ask others riding in their vehicles to wear seat belts.
"Not restraining yourself or your loved ones only enhances the chances that someone will be injured or killed in a crash," said CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. "This summer, far too many people aren't buckling up. We urge everyone to wear their seat belts and avoid the cost of a ticket."
In July and August, CDOT's Common Bond campaign will return to rural counties with social media and digital ads. The campaign highlights that while Coloradans may not agree on everything, we can all get behind seat belts and the importance of buckling up.
Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, and according to NHTSA, 46 percent of car seats are being used incorrectly. Parents and caregivers can learn more about Colorado child passenger safety laws, recommendations and recalls at CarSeatsColorado.com.
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.