RBC I In response to high traffic fatality rates and low seat belt use in Colorado’s rural communities, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement launched their annual Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period from March 28 to April 3.
The campaign issued 1,593 citations for unbelted drivers and passengers across rural Colorado. Ninety citations were issued to drivers for having unbuckled children in their vehicles. CDOT and the law enforcement community hope increased awareness and enforcement will help drivers realize the dangers of driving unbuckled.
“In the event of a serious traffic accident, a person is 30 percent more likely to be ejected if they are not wearing a seat belt,” said Darrell Lingk, director of the CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. “Seat belt use is improving in rural communities, but there is still work to be done.”
Thirty-three local law enforcement agencies and 14 State Patrol troops participated in this year’s enforcement period. State Patrol troops issued 1,076 citations. Local agencies issuing the most citations were the Fort Lupton Police Department (66), the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office (51) and Frisco Police Department (49). Seat belts protect motorists from countless injuries or death due to being ejected or colliding with others inside the vehicle, according to CDOT.
“Buckling a seat belt should be the first thing people do when they get into a car,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “I hope the people cited during this enforcement will be more aware and buckle up in the future.”
The next Click It or Ticket enforcement period will run from May 23 to June 5 for the statewide May Mobilization enforcement.
In 2014, seat belts saved an estimated 12,802 lives nationwide, including 169 in Colorado. An additional 63 lives could have been saved in Colorado if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants five and older involved in fatal crashes had been properly restrained.
For more information about seat belt safety and enforcement citation numbers, visit www.seatbeltscolorado.com.