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2,116 rural Colorado drivers get a costly reminder to buckle up

Colorado’s rural Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign resulted in 2,116 seat belt citations, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The increased seat belt enforcement took place April 1-8 in 49 counties and involved 29 law enforcement agencies and the Colorado State Patrol. CDOT provided federal grants to agencies to participate in the campaign.

The 2,116 citations also included 98 violations for drivers with unrestrained children under age 16. The special Click It or Ticket enforcement also resulted in the additional benefit of 33 drug arrests, 18 DUIs, 19 fugitive arrests, 165 suspended licenses, and the recovery of one stolen vehicle.

Colorado State Patrol Troop 5A — the area troop — issued 33 citations.

Based on observational surveys conducted by law enforcement agencies before and after the rural Click It or Ticket enforcement period, seat belt use rose from 75 to 81 percent.

“Getting everyone to buckle up is what this campaign is all about. Our goal is saving lives, not writing tickets,” said Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “In 2011, 187 people were killed in crashes on rural roadways, representing 60 percent of the state’s total fatalities. And more than half (58 percent) of those killed in rural areas were not wearing a seat belt, compared to 34 percent in urban areas.

“Sometimes there’s a false sense of security for people when driving in less congested, rural areas of our state,” Wolfinbarger pointed out. “However crashes can occur anywhere, anytime — it’s important to make smart choices by developing the habit of buckling up every time, no matter where you are or how far you’re driving. And, make sure all of your passengers are wearing seat belts and all children are buckled up in the appropriate child safety seat.”

The cost of a seat belt ticket is a minimum of $65 per violation and $85 for violations involving unrestrained children. The public can find information about the law and enforcement at www.seatbeltscolorado.com.

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