A seven-day high-visibility statewide crackdown on people who are not using their seat belts will begin Monday.
The “Click It or Ticket” special enforcement effort will target areas of rural Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies across the state will cooperate to establish seat belt checks.
Rural areas tend to have the lowest seat belt use rates in the state.
Currently, Colorado’s statewide seat belt use rate is 84 percent, ranking Colorado in the bottom third in the nation.
According to a 2017 CDOT study, the four Colorado counties with the lowest seat belt use were all rural: La Plata, 74 percent use; Montezuma, 74.4 percent; Cheyenne, 75.2 percent; and Mesa, 75.5 percent
These rates are well below the national average for seat belt use of 90 percent.
“Wearing a seat belt can easily become a matter of life or death,” said Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “It is the easiest way to protect yourself in a crash and can greatly enhance your chances of surviving.”
A total of 233 unbelted deaths in passenger-vehicle crashes occurred last year in Colorado — accounting for half of the 437 total passenger vehicle fatalities in 2017.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about 60 lives could be saved every year in Colorado if everyone buckled up.