‘Click It or Ticket’ enforcement results in 2,068 driver citations
A week-long Click It or Ticket enforcement by local law enforcement agencies in the rural areas of the state resulted in 2,068 tickets to drivers and passengers who were not wearing seat belts.
In Garfield County, the Colorado State Patrol issued 183 citations in the Glenwood Springs area, and four citations were issued by Silt Police.
The enforcement from Feb. 18-24 was concentrated in 30 counties of rural Colorado where statistics have shown seat belt usage to be below the state average. Enforcement took place in the following counties: Alamosa, Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Delta, Elbert, Fremont, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Huerfano, Kiowa, Kit Carson, La Plata, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Mesa, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Ouray, Phillips, Prowers, Routt, Washington, and Yuma.
Glenwood was the third-highest CSP ticketed area, behind Alamosa at 296 and Montrose with 239.
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“It is the law in Colorado to wear your seat belt,” said Captain George Dingfelder, Commander of Troop 5B in Alamosa. “Troopers were writing tickets, but they really serve as 2,068 reminders to buckle up no matter where you drive in our state. A $65 fine is a much better reminder than rolling your vehicle and getting ejected and killed. We want people to understand why we are serious about this message. It’s because buckling up will save lives.”
In 2008, 54 percent of traffic deaths happened on rural Colorado roads. Of the 296 people killed in rural crashes, 52 percent were not wearing seat belts, compared to 35 percent who died unrestrained in urban crashes.
An observational statewide seat belt study in 2009 showed that seat belt use was lowest in the Eastern and Western parts of the state with only 78 percent of rural drivers and passengers buckling up. That compares to an 83 percent usage rate along the Front Range.
Of the 2,068 seat belt violations, 1,875 were for adults age 21 and older who were not buckled up, 110 tickets went to young people age 16 to 20, 36 were for unrestrained children age 6 to 15, 12 were for children age 4 or 5 who were not in booster seats, and 35 were written for toddlers and babies under age 4 who were not in a child safety seat.
The Colorado State Patrol and other agencies received grants from CDOT to conduct the overtime rural Click It or Ticket enforcement.
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Bridges High School graduates took part in a special ritual for their ceremony, each placing a rock in the center of the ring as their names and a few words were read.