DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation, along with the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement, are starting a week-long Click It or Ticket campaign. Officers will be looking for drivers in rural Colorado who aren’t wearing seat belts while they drive.
“Buckling your seat belt should be the first thing you do when you get into a vehicle,” said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the CSP.
According to CDOT, 84-percent of Coloradans use seat belts. The rates goes down in rural counties. A 2017 study showed that the four Colorado counties with the lowest seat belt use were rural: La Plata (74-percent), Montezuma (74.4-percent), Cheyenne (75.2-percent), and Mesa (75.5-percent). The national average for seat belt use is 90-percent.
“The purpose of these enforcement periods is to make sure drivers and passengers get into the habit of using their seat belts every trip, no matter how short,” Packard said.
Last year in Colorado, 233 unbelted people died in vehicle crashes. Weld County has the second highest number of unbuckled death of all the counties in Colorado. In 2017, 28 people unbuckled people died in vehicle crashes. That’s more than half of the number of people who died in crashes in Weld County last year.
“It’s the easiest way to protect yourself in a crash and can greatly enhance your chances of surviving,” said Darrel Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT.
As part of this years outreach, CDOT is working with places of worship in Weld County to display seat belt reminders on outdoor signs, in an effort to increase regular use of the safety devices.