As a child, you learned the importance of wearing a seat belt from your parents. As a teenage driver, you were taught to put on your seat belt before igniting and driving any vehicle. Whatever your age, a seat belt is a critical part of driving or riding in a vehicle.
Colorado takes seat belt safety seriously. The state has implemented laws and participates in national seat belt campaigns like Click It or Ticket. Seat belts save lives, and buckling up prevents the unnecessary dilemma of a traffic ticket.
What Is Click It or Ticket?
Click It or Ticket is a national campaign started by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The campaign typically runs from May 23 to June 5 every year.
Click It or Ticket spreads awareness about the importance of wearing a seat belt while driving or riding in a vehicle and the possible safety hazards and legal penalties for failing to wear one.
The Click It or Ticket campaign was adopted in Colorado in 2002, and since then, Colorado drivers have increased their use of seat belts. Still, Colorado’s seat belt use rate sits at about 86% — lower than the national average of 90%.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and law enforcement use this campaign in an attempt to raise the percentage of seat belt use every year.
Recent Click It or Ticket Seat Belt Enforcement Cites Hundreds of Drivers in CO
CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol, and 64 other law enforcement agencies in Colorado were out on the streets this year promoting the Click It or Ticket campaign.
During the 2022 campaign, Colorado law enforcement cited 907 drivers for failure to wear a seat belt. Surprisingly, 24 of these drivers were cited for driving around with children under 15 who were not properly restrained.
Statistics Show the Importance of Wearing Seat Belts in CO
In the state of Colorado, 120,000 vehicular accidents occur, on average, every year. Sadly, these accidents result in hundreds of fatalities.
In 2021, the Colorado Department of Transportation reported 639 car accident fatalities in the state. That same year, 232 of those victims were unbuckled.
Seat belts can help reduce the risk of injury or death in a collision by 50%. Regularly wearing seat belts could save at least 70 lives in Colorado every year.
Not only can failing to wear a seat belt put you at risk for unfortunate penalties and consequences, but it could also mean serious physical harm or even death.
Colorado’s roadways are busy, with thousands of cars on the roads every single day. Car accidents are bound to happen, but seat belts can help save lives.
Seat Belt Laws in Colorado
In Colorado, drivers and front seat passengers in a vehicle operated on the street or highway are legally required to wear a seat belt at all times. There are, however, individual laws that may apply to other occupants of the vehicle, depending on the age of the driver or passenger.
For adults, Colorado has a secondary enforcement law for drivers and passengers. A secondary enforcement law means that Colorado law enforcement cannot stop you solely based on a seat belt violation. Instead, officers are only allowed to stop and cite if the driver also committed a primary violation, including speeding or running a red light.
Colorado’s Graduated Drivers License (GDL) law requires all drivers under 18 and all of their passengers to wear seat belts at all times.
Unlike seat belt laws for adults, the seat belt law for teenagers under the GDL is a primary enforcement law, meaning officers are legally allowed to stop and cite a driver under 18 and their passengers for seat belt violations.
Children must be restrained by seat belts at all times in a vehicle. The Child Passenger Safety Law is also a primary enforcement law. Law enforcement may stop and cite a driver if a child under 16 is improperly restrained in their vehicle.
There are special exceptions to the seat belt laws in Colorado. Seat belt law requirements do not apply to those individuals with a physical or psychological condition that prevents them from using a seat belt. Additionally, certain vehicles do not fall under the federal law mandate to be equipped with seat belts.
Colorado has seat belt laws designed to protect drivers and passengers at all times. Unless your vehicle or situation falls under an exception, everyone in a vehicle must follow the law.
Penalties for Violating Colorado Seat Belt Laws
A violation of Colorado’s seat belt law is a $65 fine plus a $6 fee. Drivers over 18 face receiving a citation if they or anyone else in their vehicle breaks the law.
Teenage drivers face additional consequences. If a driver is under 18, they can be pulled over solely for a violation of the seat belt law and receive a $65 citation. Unlike adults, teens can get points on their licenses.
Safety Hazards of Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Not only can failure to wear a seat belt result in legal penalties, but it can also put you at great risk for harm.
The consequences of not wearing a seat belt might include the following:
- Ejection from the vehicle, which could lead to serious injury or death
- Serious injuries are made worse by not having the proper restraints
- Serious impact or injury from a deployed airbag
Relying entirely on airbags is not wise, as they’re often not enough to protect you in the event of a collision.
Failing to wear a seat belt or wearing one improperly can have serious consequences for drivers and passengers alike. Wearing a seat belt is an easy task with a significant impact.
If you require legal assistance relating to seat belts and car accidents, Mann & Maximon is ready to help you. Reach out today to schedule a free case evaluation.
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