|Click It or Ticket enforcement to be held in Phillips County|
|Written by Holyoke Enterprise|
In an effort to increase seat belt use and save lives on rural Colorado roadways, the Colorado State Patrol and 36 rural law enforcement agencies in 50 counties are mobilizing for a Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period, March 31 through April 6.
The enforcement is combined with a seat belt education campaign, aimed at dispelling the myths and excuses people make for not buckling up.
“Many people think that they are safer driving in rural areas with less traffic, but it’s a fact that most fatalities in Colorado happen on rural roadways, and more than half of the people killed are not wearing seat belts,” said Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “We’re not trying to pick on rural drivers by writing citations—we just want to remind everyone of the importance of wearing seat belts to save lives.”
In 2009, 254 people were killed in crashes on rural roadways, representing 54 percent of the state’s total fatalities. More than half of those killed in rural areas were not wearing a seat belt, compared to 36 percent in urban areas.
One of the biggest reasons people give for not buckling up is that they aren’t traveling very far. The reality is that 85 percent of crashes occur within five miles of a person’s home. Others say they simply forget to buckle up because they never developed the habit.
“We hope this concentrated education and enforcement effort will be the catalyst for everyone to start a habit that will save their own life and those of their loved ones,” said Pamela Hutton, governor’s representative for highway safety at the Colorado Department of Transportation. “It takes just two seconds to buckle up, making the difference between life and death.”
Drivers of pickup trucks have the lowest overall seat belt use at just 73 percent, compared to 85 percent in cars. Nearly eight out of 10 people killed in pickup trucks in Colorado did not wear a seat belt. Pickup trucks are twice as likely to roll over in a crash, despite the belief that they are safer vehicles.
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.
Colorado’s child-passenger safety law and its teen driver seat belt 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 or if a teen driver and their passengers are not buckled up.