Colorado authorities have begun their Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement in rural counties to motivate drivers to buckle up and reduce fatalities, according to a report in the Journal Advocate.
From March 26 to April 1, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement officials are conducting the campaign. Last year's Click It or Ticket program resulted in 1,306 seat belt citations.
Penalties for not wearing a seatbelt begin at $65. However, parents or caregivers stopped for an improperly restrained child can receive a minimum summons of $82.
The Click It of Ticket campaign was born to help reverse lack of seatbelt compliance and ultimately, reduce fatalities.
In 2017, Colorado's seat belt use rate was 84% — 36th among all states in the nation. Moreover, findings from a CDOT 2017 statewide survey verify that five rural counties had the lowest seatbelt use rate among 31 counties studied. These include Delta, La Plata (74%), Montezuma (74.4%), Cheyenne (75.2%) and Mesa (75.5%) reports the Julesburg Advocate.
According to preliminary data, some 211 unbuckled drivers and passengers died in crashes in Colorado, marking a 14% increase over 2016 fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety administration (NHTSA) estimates that 58 lives could be saved every year if Colorado had 100 percent seatbelt compliance.
Currently, Colorado has a secondary enforcement law for adult drivers and front-seat riders, meaning drivers get a ticket for violating seatbelt laws only if stopped for another traffic violation. For teen drivers, the seatbelt law is a primary enforcement. For children, the law is a primary enforcement, meaning drivers can be pulled over and ticketed if an officer sees an improperly restrained child under 16 in the vehicle, according to reports.