Colorado law enforcement hands out 5,000+ seat belt citations in 14 days

Published: Jun. 19, 2019 at 12:28 PM MDT
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More than 240 kids were confirmed to be riding sans seat belt during Colorado's latest enforcement period.

Between May 20-June 2, law enforcement handed out 244 citations to drivers with unrestrained children under 15 in their vehicles, the Colorado Department of Transportation said Wednesday.

That's up 10 from last year, when 234 citations for unrestrained children were handed out during a similar 14-day time period.

The number of unbuckled adults was even more staggering; officers handed out nearly 5,000 citations to drivers for seat belt violations.

Colorado currently ranks in the bottom third nationwide for seat belt use, and tragically, it's a common denominator in many deadly crashes across the state.

"It only takes a second to buckle a seat belt, but the impact is major. Seat belts save lives,” said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “This summer and beyond, we hope Coloradans think about the effects of seat belts. Traveling in a car without a seat belt puts you at risk of never seeing your family again, ending your career and many other unfortunate circumstances. Buckle up, it’s not worth the gamble.”

Colorado's seat belt laws (courtesy: CDOT)

- Adults: 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.

- Teens: Colorado’s Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) law requires all drivers under 18 and their passengers, regardless of their age, to wear seat belts. This is a primary enforcement, meaning teens can be pulled over simply for not wearing a seat belt or having passengers without seat belts.

Children: Colorado's Child Passenger Safety law is a primary enforcement, meaning the driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child under age 16 in the vehicle.