Click It or Ticket Enforcement Week Runs March 31 – April 7 in Rural Colorado

 

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It’s a fact: seat belts save lives. But still many people in rural Colorado choose to not to wear one. In an effort to increase seat belt use and save lives on rural Colorado roadways, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 28 rural law enforcement agencies throughout the state are mobilizing for a Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period, starting today until Monday, April 7. The increased enforcement is combined with a seat belt education campaign targeting rural drivers, as they tend to have the lowest seat belt use rate in the state. 

In 2013, there were 178 unbuckled fatalities in Colorado, with 59 percent occurring on rural roadways. Of the 105 unbuckled fatalities in rural Colorado, 72 percent were male drivers and nearly 30 percent of them were driving a pickup truck. Of the total unbuckled fatalities on rural roadways, 70 percent of drivers were either fully or partially ejected from their vehicle. The counties that experienced the most unbuckled fatalities in 2013 were El Paso (11), Weld (9) and Lincoln (7). During the 2013 rural Click It or Ticket enforcement period, 1,538 seat belt violates were cited, 88 percent going to adults over the age of 21. 

“Adults are the leading offenders of not wearing their seat belts because they have a false perception that they are safe without one,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at the Colorado Department of Transportation. “This perception may be a reason that these drivers have lower than average seat belt use. Our main goal is to encourage all drivers to understand that wearing a seat belt can truly save your life.” 

The seat belt education campaign includes educational materials distributed throughout the rural counties, and coordination with community-based organizations to increase awareness of the importance of seat belt use. It’s important for drivers in rural Colorado to buckle up regardless of where they are going or how long they are on the road. 

“Many drivers don’t buckle up because they never developed the habit or because they don’t think they will be in an accident,” says Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “One thing drivers don’t think of is that wearing your seat belt is the best defense against other drivers. Maybe you won’t make a mistake and cause an accident, but do you really want to take the risk that no one else will? Wear your seat belt and give yourself, your family and your friends the peace of mind that you are better protected.” 

These are a few of the law enforcement agencies which will take part in the rural seat belt enforcement:

Colorado State Patrol
Baca County Sheriff’s Office
Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office
Trinidad Police Department 

Click It or Ticket enforcement focuses on speeding and aggressive drivers, however drivers who are stopped for a traffic violation and are not using a seat belt will be ticketed and fined $65.

In 2012 seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 lives nationwide. An additional 3,031 lives could have been saved if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had been properly restrained. For more information on seat belt citation data online, visit www.SeatBeltsColorado.com and click on Seat Belt Enforcement Reporting in Quick Links.

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