Special to the News In an effort to increase seat belt use and save lives on Colorado's rural roadways, the Colorado State Patrol and 21 rural law …
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Special to the News
In an effort to increase seat belt use and save lives on
Colorado's rural roadways, the Colorado State Patrol and 21 rural
law enforcement agencies are stepping up seat belt enforcement Feb.
11-17. The Click It or Ticket campaign takes place in Alamosa,
Bent, Delta, Elbert, Garfield, Gunnison, Huerfano, Kit Carson,
Lincoln, Logan, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Prowers,
Washington, and Yuma counties.
“We're focusing our enforcement efforts in these rural counties
because our studies indicate that seat belt use is very low in
these areas," said Pamela Hutton, CDOT chief engineer and
governor's representative for highway safety. "Living in a rural
county myself, I know the sense of security rural drivers feel and
the temptation not to wear a seat belt, but with more than half of
Colorado's fatalities occurring in rural areas, it is extremely
important to buckle up no matter where you drive."
Coloradans driving or riding on rural roadways face a much
greater risk of being injured or killed than do those in urban or
suburban areas. In 2007, 57 percent of traffic fatalities occurred
in rural Colorado. One contributor to higher fatalities is a lower
seat belt use in rural parts of the state. An observational seat
belt study conducted in 2008 showed that seat belt use is lowest in
eastern Colorado with only 77.4 percent of rural drivers and
passengers buckling up. That compares to an 83.6 percent seat belt
use rate along the urban Front Range. Seat belt use is 79.4 percent
in the Western region of the state. The overall statewide seat belt
use rate is 81.7 percent.
“We know that regular seatbelt use is the single most effective
way to prevent injuries and death in a crash,” said Sheriff Gerry
Oyen, Bent County Sheriff's Office. “Since I began my career in law
enforcement 42 years ago, I've seen a drastic change in the
effectiveness of seat belts and people's attitudes toward wearing
them. Nowadays there's no excuse not to wear one. Our goal is to
get more people buckled up in rural Colorado.”
Young males and pickup truck occupants are among those at
greatest risk. In 2007, three-quarters of the unbuckled deaths were
men, and nearly half of them were ages 18 to 34. Also in 2007, 73
people died in pickup trucks in Colorado, and 68 percent were not
wearing seat belts. Only 70 percent of pickup truck drivers in
Colorado wear seat belts. That compares to a 83.7 percent seat belt
use rate for cars, 85.4 percent for vans and 84.9 percent for
“Pickup trucks do not make you invincible. Studies show they are
twice as likely as cars to roll over in a crash,” said Col. Mark
Trostel, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "Develop the habit to
take two seconds to buckle up yourself and your passengers. You'll
avoid a ticket or much worse.”
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.
Click It or Ticket enforcement focuses on speeding and aggressive
drivers. Drivers who are stopped for a traffic violation and are
not using a seat belt will be ticketed. Seat belt fines are $65 per
Colorado's child-passenger safety law includes both primary and
secondary enforcement. The infant seat, child safety seat and seat
belt provisions of the law are primary enforcement, meaning the
driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an
unrestrained or improperly restrained child in the vehicle. The
booster seat portion of the law is secondary enforcement. The
child-passenger safety law clearly defines child safety seat and
seat belt use from birth through age 15. The public can find more
information about the law and assistance with using child safety
seats and seat belts properly by visiting www.carseatscolorado.com The
Colorado State Patrol and the following agencies and troops are
participating in the Click It or Ticket enforcement:
CSP Troop 5B – Alamosa
CSP Troop 2C
Bent County SO
Las Animas PD
CSP Troop 5C – Delta
Delta County SO
CSP Troop 1A – Elbert
CSP Troop 4C – Garfield
Garfield County SO
Glenwood Springs PD
Gunnison County SO
CSP Troop 2D – Huerfano
CSP Troop 3B – Logan
Logan County SO
CSP Troop 5A Montezuma
Montrose County SO
Fort Morgan PD
Rocky Ford PD
Washington County SO
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